Polish your skills to Ace your next interview

Metro Creative Connection Published:

A job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for applicants. Those who enter an interview with a host of qualifications may still find themselves nervous at the prospect of discussing a position they're interested in with a complete stranger.

Such nervousness is normal, but many job seekers still hope for ways to make themselves more comfortable when interviewing for a job.

There are several ways to do just that, and men and women, both young and old and experienced and inexperienced, should recognize that interviewing takes some dedication and hard work. Resumes do sometimes speak for themselves, but the following tips can go a long way toward helping job seekers make a strong first impression.

n Say something before you even open your mouth. Nonverbal communication is an important part of the interview process. Good posture, a firm handshake and making eye contact can set a positive tone at a job interview and makes a strong first impression. When arriving at an office for an interview, don't slouch in a chair while waiting for the interviewer to arrive. Sit straight up and avoid nervous behavior such as toe-tapping or checking the time.

n Be a good listener. Many job seekers have practiced what they're going to say countless times in the days leading up to an important interview. Preparation is important, but it's just as important to listen to the interviewer throughout the interview. Avoid simply waiting your turn to speak before spouting off a rehearsed answer. The interviewer is providing valuable information, which applicants should use in their responses to questions.

n Remain professional. Job seekers should always remain professional and avoid coming off as overly familiar. Such an attitude might make it appear as though you aren't taking the interview seriously and aren't very interested in the job. Staying too rigid throughout the interview also is not a good way to make a first impression. It's acceptable to allow the interviewer to set the tone of the interview, but it's also important to land somewhere between rigidity and being overly familiar.

n Be specific when answering questions. Applicants must distinguish themselves from one another. When an interviewer asks a question about a past job experience or project, be specific with your answer. If need be, take time to answer the question. Thoughtfully answering a question is always better than spouting off the first response that comes to mind.

n Ask your own questions. At some point during the interview, applicants will be asked if they have any questions for the interviewer. Applicants should always ask questions, which demonstrates interest in the position. Failing to ask a question will likely put an awkward end to the interview. When asking questions, base them on previous statements from the interview to show you have been listening and would like to know more about the position and the company.

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