If you are a job seeker, you’ve likely heard this interview advice: “practice and prepare”!
It’s good advice. Necessary advice, in fact.
Yet often job seekers struggle with maintaining an authentic voice during the interview process while ensuring they are still well practiced and prepared. I’m often asked “Skye, how can I deliver interview answers without sounding too scripted or mechanical?”. The answer lies in these three simple approaches:
- Boost Confidence
It is often said that being prepared can boost confidence; and with confidence comes an increased ability to manage stressful situations with ease. This includes interviewing.
Regardless of how much you practice, you won’t know exactly what questions the interviewer will ask. So don’t practice just to memorize canned responses. Practice to gain more clarity on your value and offerings – so you can answer an array of potential questions with comfort and confidence.
- Get Stories Ready
Everyone loves a good story. In an interview, the storytelling approach can be very powerful.
Your goal in the interview is to share compelling examples that engage the listener. Strong interview stories are both genuine and informational.
Spend time gathering intel on your abilities, and then identify several supporting stories to back up your claims. Once you have great stories ready and front of mind, you can draw from them in the moment to support your case. Focus on delivering answers/stories in a focused manner, but not in a rehearsed way. Simply share what you know to be a great example of you performing well in past positons.
To help keep your stories on track, focus on delivering the Challenge, Action, and Result of each event.
- Be Aware of Communication Styles
Finally, to help avoid scripted or mechanical sounding interview responses, be cognizant of the interviewer’s style of communication. Yes, their style – not yours.
By shifting focus away from how you communicate, to how the interviewer communicates, you can keep yourself from delivering information in a boxed manner.
During an interview, identify how the interviewer communicates. Are they loud, quiet, animated, or more formal? If so, adjust yourself to ‘get on the same page’. This small shift in awareness can help you share information in a way that the interviewer will better appreciate and keep you from getting too trapped in stiff responses.
For example, if the interviewer is quieter in speech – you should be too. On the flip side, if the interviewer is more animated and engaged – you need to match their level of enthusiasm. It’s amazing how shifting the focus off your own thoughts and needs can help you better relax and relate.
— Skye Berry-Burke is an award-winning, multi-certified resume writer and interview coach who helps bring job seeker’s careers to new heights at Skye Is The Limit Resume and Career Solutions .