In an interview setting, communication is always the trait that differentiates a group of equally skilled candidates. Some people are just naturally good communicators, giving them the advantage. But if you don’t consider yourself a natural, that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of improvement. There’s also no need to start acting like someone you’re not either. The value of authenticity in communication is undeniable. But if you keep getting interviews and aren’t landing the job, it might be time to reevaluate the message you’re sending.
Consider these four communication touch points as you analyze the effectiveness of your communication skills:
When you apply for a job, you will usually get a call from a recruiter wanting to first conduct a phone interview. The conversation may not take more than 10 minutes, but it’s not necessarily about length or depth here. After all, they’ve seen your resume and have a good idea of your hard skills. As you answer questions and discuss your background, the recruiter is trying to get a sense of your communication style, personality and articulation. Unfortunately, it could cost you the opportunity to move forward in the interview process should you give the wrong impression. Be sure you’re in a quiet place and have your notes in front of you to keep you on track.
Anything you write to anyone at the company you’re interviewing with falls in this category. Spelling mistakes and typos aside, you’ll want to remember that no matter how short your note may be, this is still an interaction and an opportunity to leave an impression. For example, say you need to reschedule your interview. Your email could be to the point: “I’m sorry, I’m no longer available to interview on Wednesday. Do you have time on Friday?” Or you could make more of a connection: “Hope you’re doing well. I just learned of an important meeting at work this Wednesday that I can’t miss. Would it be possible to move the interview to Friday? I’m so disappointed to have to delay our meeting. I have been looking forward to it since our last conversation. Thanks in advance and my apologies for any inconvenience.” Which email do you think would leave a better impression with a hiring manager?
All types of communication offer an opportunity to create some sort of bond with the other person. Why should an interview setting be thought of any differently? Use each opportunity you have to make a deeper connection or leave a better impression.
Hunching your shoulders or making yourself smaller when interviewing will transmit a lack of confidence, while folding your arms across your chest will create distance between you and the interviewer. Eye contact or the lack of eye contact is also something interviewers notice. Remember it’s critical to communicate your enthusiasm for the role and the company you’re going to work for, and your body language is all part of how you express that.
This covers anything from your tone and articulation to what you actually say. There is great power in being well spoken and able to project confidence when speaking. But confidence doesn’t mean that you always have all the answers. Don’t get frazzled if you don’t know how to answer a question. Instead of becoming visibly uneasy and rushing to blurt out an answer, consider saying something like this: “That’s not a situation that I’ve had to deal with, at least not exactly in the way you’re asking. But what I do think those situations call for is someone who can really think on their feet and I’ve had to do that in many other ways….”
Whether you’re on the phone, sending an email or at an in-person interview, communication is key. When competing against other qualified candidates, your message and brand needs to come off clearly and confidently. Take each communication touch point seriously and always consider the impression you’re giving off.