Communication Skills for Interviews!

When your next big interview is coming up, please remember that all your preparation – the exams you have taken, your marks, your profile, your work experience, everything from the past will only matter if you can talk about it confidently. This is why communication skills are stressed upon in all spheres of life, not just interviews and applications.

Think of it this way. If you were interviewing a candidate for a job in a major-league company, or for admission into a top-notch college, would you even consider somebody who shines on paper but does not reflect the talent verbally or through body language? I’m guessing the answer to that is no. If you yourself understand the importance of good communication skills in others, it only makes sense to adopt good communication practises yourself.

Clearly, we need to master our communication skills to the best of our ability. Here are a few handy tips that will give you an edge in your interviews. You should be fairly good at getting your point across with just a little bit of practice. This knowledge is not limited to interviews alone – adapt these habits into daily life for better interaction with fellow humans, and at times animals (although we give no guarantee for the latter). You’ll see how easy life becomes if you have the right set of communication skills.

  1. Communicating with the body: We’ll take this point directly from our previous post on the importance of body language. Sometimes, the interview begins in the waiting room itself. Remember  to not slouch or sprawl out. When you enter the room, do the obvious – walk confidently. At no cost should you allow your nervousness to take over, be aware of your own conduct and the rest should not be too difficult.
    Invisible Communication Skills
  2. Greeting: This simple point is forgotten by more people than you would imagine. Wish the interviewers. A casual but courteous ‘good morning’ or ‘hello, good afternoon’ could ensure that the mood for the interview is light and that there is no stiffness in the atmosphere. It is understandable why something this simple could slip off your mind. While you wishing the interviewers might not get you extra points, your not wishing them could lead them to have a slightly negative image of you – not something you want, is it?
    Communication Skills: Greet others!
  3. Know something about yourself: Inevitably, one of the most common questions that is asked first is this – “Tell us something about yourself.” We know that it is not easy to tell a stranger something about yourself, there is a lot that could be talked about. Which is exactly why you should be prepared with a basic answer. Figure out what you would like them to know about you. Also, talk about those aspects of your self that you want to be questioned on.
    Communication Skills: Do not be clueless
  4. Expect the expected: Point #3 actually applies to most frequently asked questions. Sure, it is encouraged that you are spontaneous during your interview and do not mug up answers beforehand. However, it is essential that you know what you will be talking about. This also means that you will be talking a lot more confidently.
    Communication Skills: Be ready with answers
  5. Be honest. People talk differently. It is entirely possible that the interviewer has an accent that you cannot follow, he or she talks too softly or too fast, or basically, you do not understand what is being asked. Request them to repeat the question. There is no shame in asking that. The shame will be in answering about Chennai rains when asked about bullet trains 😛
    Communication Skills: Listen
  6. The 80-20 rule: It is said to be the golden rule of interviewing. The interviewers are supposed to spend 80% of their time listening, and only 20% of it in asking or talking. You, however, must remember to listen. Listen to not just what is asked, but also what is implied. Be perceptive and try to pick up on the hints that interviewers drop when they want to steer the interview in a particular direction. The core of effective communication is the ability to listen, but most people forget that communicating is a two way process – you should make an effort to remember that.
    Communication Skills: Do not blabber
  7. Do not get too familiar. Everybody appreciates genuine behaviour, but not if you get carried away and start talking to the interviewers like they were your friends. Avoid big words or formal jargon, but talk respectfully.
    Communication Skills: Over-friendliness is dangerous
  8. The truth always works. This is a corollary of Point #7. Be confident without coming across as stuck up. This can easily be achieved- just remember that the people on the other side of the table are humans too. Tell your story with honesty, be genuine and it will be a smooth ride.
    Communicate the truth
  9. Interview hack: Interviewers wait for about 20 seconds after the candidate is done answering. The silence gets awkward and so people usually end up falling for this trap by talking about more things than was intentionally intended. Be alert, do not fall for this. Remain confident and secure in the knowledge that what you have said was enough information. Unnecessary babbling can be a mood-killer, to say the least. This should make you come across as a pro in communicating well.
    Communication Skills: You're done when you're done
  10. Stay super positive. Yes, even your expressions and terminologies should give off positive vibes. Enter your interview with the hope of learning something new and doing a good job, not with the fear that you will fail. Because you will not.
    Communication is your superpower

We would suggest you watch a few videos where experts demonstrate good communication skills.

  1. A TED talk by Julian Treasure who studies sound. He asks, “Have you ever felt like you’re talking but nobody is listening?” We guarantee that this talk by him will help you review your own skills and make you better at communicating with others.
TED | Julian Treasure: How to Speak so that People Want to Listen

2. Stanford Graduate School of Business lecturer Matt Abbrahams talks about “effective speaking in spontaneous situations” This should ensure that you can hold your ground in the tense atmosphere of an interview and answer with ease.

Think Smart, Talk Fast: Communication Techniques

3. In certain interviews, candidates are grilled till their weakness is exposed. Do you know what can act as a shield against attack by such tough questions? Your communication skills, of course. Watch this video to gain a better understanding of communicating well in tense situations.

How To Respond To Tough Questions

4. To sum up what we’ve been telling you, we found a crisp and effective video to help you sail through your interview. You can now relax, for communicating is no longer going to be a thing to stress about. Good luck!

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Priyansha Jain

The author

The writer does not know herself well enough to fill out this box but is hoping to change that soon. She is a student of literature and wishes to make a career out of being a conversationalist. She also invents words and sometimes careers.