Clear, strategic, authentic communication in the workplace is more important than ever, and it’s at the heart of what will help you succeed when interviewing for your next job.
In a recent PowerSpeaking Live! panel discussion, Pamela Skillings, Co-founder of Big Interview at Skillful Communications, Inc. and “a guru in the world of interviews” according to the The Wall Street Journal, joined PowerSpeaking CEO Carrie Beckstrom and Master Facilitator and Executive Coach Rita Williams to share best practices for job interviews.
We’ve captured highlights from that Live! discussion for you in this blog.
Let’s get started . . .
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Avoid These Common Mistakes
When you’re interviewing for a job, you want to shine. One way to do that is to avoid common mistakes people make in job interviews.
Rita shares some great advice to help you do just that . . .
Among her tips:
🔹 Make sure your resume, cover letter, and any written communications prior to the interview are free of typos and grammatical errors
🔹 Be prepared to sell yourself with a well-planned narrative that you’ve practiced out loud
🔹 After the interview, follow up soon to demonstrate your interest in the position and to continue building rapport and connection
Another common mistake is not researching the company—and the people who will be interviewing you—prior to the interview. Being prepared to demonstrate your knowledge of and interest in the company and its people will make a great impression. It will also prepare you to ask more relevant questions.
- Understand the type of company you want to work for (do they share your values?)
- Learn about the company’s business operations
- Research the company’s leadership
- Ask your network for opinions
- Review related local news stories, forums, and business journals
- Be strategic in how you share your research in an interview
Once you’ve prepared well for the interview, the next step is to . . .
Sell Yourself (you can do it!)
If the thought of “selling yourself” in a job interview makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone. But the truth is, it’s necessary. The good news is, there are effective ways to sell yourself without appearing arrogant.
Pamela shares some great pointers about how to spotlight your value . . .
Several key pointers:
🔹 Having previously analyzed the job description closely, share why you are a good fit for the position
🔹 Use referral quotes from coworkers, managers, or others to highlight your successes and strengths
🔹 Convey confidence that you can add value by citing specific, relevant job experiences when asked questions
Often, the most challenging moment in a job interview is when you’re asked a behavior-related question like, “Tell me about how you handle conflict” or “Describe a time you had to make a tough decision in order to move a project forward.”
Fortunately, there’s a proven and popular tool to help you shine when asked these kinds of questions. It’s called the STAR interview method, and it’s described in detail in this BetterUp article, “30 STAR interview method questions to prepare for.”
Next, let’s say you’re acing your interviews and it’s time to talk salary . . .
Negotiate Salary With Confidence
Knowing how to negotiate a competitive, equitable salary says a lot about your self-worth—and your potential worth to an employer.
But what are the best strategies? Pamela shares some great insights and advice . . .
Several of our favorite points:
🔹 What an employer is offering to pay should be gated on what that position commands in the marketplace—not on your current salary—so don’t share it if they ask. And actually, it’s illegal for employers to ask for salary history in a growing number of states, including California, Illinois, and North Carolina. (The Society for Human Resource Management tracks the laws by state, so you can check for details about your state on their website.)
🔹 Avoid talking about a specific desired salary until later in the conversation/interview process, when you have more leverage
🔹 If the employer asks what salary you’re looking for early in the process, convey your sense of worth by saying, “I’m looking for a competitive salary” or state a range based on the market
Rita added that even if you’re interviewing for a promotion or an internal job move, you should always negotiate. She elaborates in this clip . . .
So, you can’t go wrong if you:
🔹 Know what the external market value is for the new position, and make the case for that salary point (you’ll save them onboarding costs, for one thing)
🔹 Be prepared to promote your value with a few persuasive bullet points, like your key accomplishments, the fact that you won’t need a steep learning curve, and your familiarity with the organization
🔹 Understand that negotiating well not only demonstrates confidence, but also, is a skill many employers value for almost any job
More Resources . . .
We hope you found this blog useful. If you’d like to learn more communication strategies that will serve you well in your career journey, check out these resources:
PowerSpeaking Live! View or listen to our expert panel discussions on our Youtube page, ranging from how to transform your fear of public speaking to how to deliver technical presentations that engage and inspire.
"How to Achieve Your Best Personal Brand" blog, by CEO Carrie Beckstrom