Interview extroardinaire
December 21, 2013 4:53 AM   Subscribe

How to do well in interviews?

I have some interviews coming up and just found out that I messed up a few already. I asked for feedback and was told that I looked good on paper but did not appear confident and keen enough.

What are your tips for interviews (especially the body language part)?

Thanks so much!!
posted by dinosaurprincess to Human Relations (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I try to follow this handy visual guide as much as possible: What you wish you'd known before your job interview. The biggies are there: smile, eye contact, posture, etc. Good luck!
posted by wheek wheek wheek at 5:09 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ask A Manager is my new go-to resource for job-search related advice.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:38 AM on December 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Practice short, concise answers, Don't ramble on! I have seen a lot of promising candidates ramble on because they are nervous and it goes nowhere pretty.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2013

I've found that it helps to think yourself, as much as possible, out of the mindset that you're on trial here, being evaluated by some faceless Judgers for your perceived strengths and weaknesses. That internal view of the situation will always result in your being defensive and insecure on some level, no matter how much you try to fake smiles, eye contact, etc.

Some of the best interviews I've ever had were ones where I went in with genuine feelings of trust and goodwill toward the interviewers and the wider organization. These people were great, their work was great, I was a great person, and I hoped we could find a way to all be great together. But if they decided against me, that was also cool, because that would only mean it wasn't the right fit, not that I was somehow unworthy. Kind of like asking someone out on a date who's also a friend that you really respect and admire. You hope they'll say yes, and you're making your best case-- but if it's a no, you trust that they made the right choice, and you know you'll both ultimately find happiness anyway with other people. It's hard to exude real goodwill and still be afraid at the same time.
posted by Bardolph at 8:52 AM on December 21, 2013 [4 favorites]

I interviewed recently (and got the spot). I'll second Ask a Manager; she has a spot-on interview guide (you need to sign up to see it; it's free). As for body language, I'll also second making eye contact, smiling, maintaining good posture, and gesturing. Also be yourself when you talk; it's my knee-jerk instinct to go in as super duper professional as possible without putting any of myself in my vocal inflection. I have to remind myself to let my personality come through when I'm answering. If you manage to do that, smiling and eye contact tends to come naturally.

Most of all, though, the best advice I read somewhere on the Internet (...I read a lot of articles in the past month about interviewing) was to tailor your answers to this model: situation, action, positive result, i.e., what was the situation you handled, what action did you take, and what was the positive result/learning experience you gained from it. I tend to ramble, especially when I'm practicing in my car or at home (practice!!), and so making sure I hit those three points really helped keep my answers worthwhile. I'll also recommend taking a portfolio notepad; asking questions at the end (and taking notes when your interviewer answers - mine gave me specific advice about the job, their expectations, and how to do well - when I wrote my thank you letters to the two interviewers, I was able to incorporate specific details of that discussion into those letters); and not being afraid to engage your interviewer(s) when/if they want to go off script.

Every interview is one more chance to hone your skills. It's frustrating, but you will get there!
posted by coast99 at 9:50 AM on December 21, 2013

After you sit down, slightly pull your sleeves up - it gives you and them an impression that you are ready to get to work.

Got that from a book by Philip Garside, The Secrets of Getting a Job. Have used the book to coach up family and friends on interviewing to great success.
posted by AnnaRat at 1:23 PM on December 21, 2013

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