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CV Lizard - Interview Techniques, Help and Advice

Interview Techniques

It's ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL to note that you are being assessed based on:
  • Your skillset and ability to perform within the position.
  • Your likeability - How you work with other people.
  • Who you are, your vibe, your attitude.
You must demonstrate that you fit the requirements within all those areas.

Stay Calm

Some important and effective psychological techniques that you can use to get yourself into a positive mindset prior to the interview were already listed in our previous interview preparation article. The essential facts are:
  • The interview is not to be seen as a test. It's an opportunity to shine.
  • If you're put in a position that knocks you for six at any point during the interview, do not panic. There's nothing wrong or dishonest with saying “That's an excellent question, and I could really do with some time to think about it, could we come back to that?”


Human beings formulate opinions of new people in seconds, that's our nature. Thankfully, there are some pretty universal guidelines to ensure a decent introduction.
Your persona counts and your general attitude to life as a whole is a critical part of this.
Walk in confidently – do not slouch, keep your chin up, move with deliberation.
Be sure to look into the eyes of your interviewers as soon as you step into the room. Smile naturally and remember this is a challenge but not a test. Be sure to make eye contact with EVERYBODY in the room as you introduce yourself.
When you shake hands, a moderately firm grip is best. A weak handshake is terrible because it gives an instant impression of subordination, but crushing a potential employer's bones is too much!
Never display instant negativity. Don't begin with any negative comments about the weather or the transport system! Instead, make a positive comment about the target company, for example: a comment on the building's architecture or gardens, or even how easy the place was to find.

Non-Verbal Tactics

Attempt to build rapport with your interviewers. There are so many ways to do this, with so many nuances, that it's more of an art than a science.
Consider using 'pacing' when required to put your interviewers in affirmative mindset. This is using a string of questions to which the answer is definitely 'yes' or 'true' before introducing a statement that has a more a ambiguous answer.
Also, it has been proven that if you do have a weakness that is bound to be uncovered, mention it as early as possible in the interview. This allows you the rest of the interview to let the impact of this wear off on the panel, as well as giving you the chance to display your positives. This is far better than running a good interview, then dropping a negative 'bombshell' just as you exit and leaving them with a negative impression.
If you pick up any idiosyncratic speech patterns from an interviewer, mirror them tactfully.
Don't ramble on – buy yourself time and create rapport but letting them speak! Conversations are two-way.

Use Body-Language To Your Advantage

  • Do not slouch in your chair, sit up straight, give off a confident and professional vibe.
  • If you are sat tucked right in to a desk, place your arms on the deck in an open position.
  • Never cross your arms, it represents a barrier.
  • Match the breathing pattern of the person you are speaking with.
  • Tactfully mirror any physical movements that an interviewer uses to emphasise their speech.

Asking Questions

Use new information from the panel to add to your own questions. Ask how long they have been recruiting for, and then whether you are the last candidate. At the end of the interview, as you've been sincere and honest with the panel, they will be obliged to act toward you in the same way, meaning it's fair to ask “do you actually have any concerns about my suitability for the role?” at the end of the interview. This can be wise as it gives you the chance to fire-off a final defence.

Handling The Killer Questions

If you're confident in yourself as an employee and genuine as a human being, the odds of answering with a 'clanger' are greatly reduced.
Sincerity and honesty are the keys – never tell a flat-out lie, it will show, and you won't be able to conjure up believable minor details if quizzed extensively.
If you fear that your answer is going to sound weak, be sure to refer to what you learnt from a situation and how it has made you a stronger employee.
Baring in mind that your abilities and personality are being analysed, so be mindful: For example “are you highly competitive?” is a question that must be handled with care. A good way to answer would be to confirm that you are driven, using a quick anecdote from your life, but also stating that you don't let your will to succeed impinge negatively on your relationship with your co-workers. This is displaying a strength but controlling perceptions. After all, nobody likes to work with a narcissist!

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