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Communication is important during the interview

Kelli K. Nicholas

By KELLI K. NICHOLAS
Marketing Coordinator — Michigan Works!

How effective are your communication skills?
Do you listen to others?
How do you listen?

These are all points to keep in mind while interviewing with a potential employer.

Clarify:
Ask questions if you are unsure of the question being asked.
Make sure your message is clear.
Read their body language.
Do you have the skills required for the position? Give them specifics on how your skills match the job requirements.
Can you learn any skills you are lacking?  Explain how you will learn them.

Listen:
Determine what is the question being asked and answer only that question.
Sometimes people are so nervous that they do not answer the question asked. Again, read the interviewer’s non-verbal communication cues to help you decide if you nailed the correct answer. If you find your answers are wandering off topic or you cannot come up with a reasonable answer, it is OK to ask for a minute to think about an answer or get yourself back on track. If you think about and practice answering sample questions and answers ahead of your interview, the tangents and extended ramblings will decrease along with your nerves.

Avoid the following during the interview and while making small talk before and after the end of the interview:
Gossip or rumors
Speaking too fast
Being cocky
Bad body language

A favorite question of interviewers is still the dreaded: “Tell me about yourself.”
This should be a two-minute summary of your background and related skills.
Remember to leave out personal information or anything that could be used against you.
Concentrate on your soft and hard skills needed for the position – unique selling points.

From time to time during the interview, remark on something you learned while researching the company or industry. This shows that you care enough to know the company mission statement, what services they offer, and company history.

As past behavior can be a predictor of present or future behavior, these are a few general questions you should be prepared to answer:
1. What do you know about my company?
2. How many employers have you worked for during the last two years?
3. Would your most recent employer hire you back? Why or why not?
4. How many times did you call in sick or late to your last employer?
5. Describe a time when you went over and beyond to help a customer, co-worker or supervisor.
6. What is your best strength? What is something you need to work on?

Always thank the interviewers for their time and consideration at the end of the interview. Request a business card which you will use when writing your thank you note within two days of the interview. This is the time to remind them of how you will be a benefit to their organization, clarify any issues or problems discussed and stress any good points made during the interview.

(Mid Michigan Career Outlook is a regular monthly feature of The Laker Current.)

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