Career Development

How Great Communication Skills Help You At Every Stage Of The Interview Process

Let’s get this straight from the start: your interview process doesn’t start when you walk into the room, clutching your resume with your head full of hopes and expectations, to face your inquisitors.

If that’s all there was to it, job hunting would be a free-for-all.  Everything would depend on face-to-face meetings: it would be about presentation, style over substance if you like.  As a result, there would be too many bad appointments, too many early terminations, and trust would fall away.

And how well you communicate can make, or break, the efforts you put into researching the jobs available, the companies that are looking to hire, and the skills required for each position.

So let’s look at the process, and how great communication skills can help at each stage.

Writing Your Resume

This is your “showpiece” communication, yet is a job that is too often overlooked. So do it well. A good resume is not a quick list of jobs you’ve had and the education you’ve gained. But nor is it a long (and tedious) ramble through your life, charting every experience with dedication and detail. It’s a two-page summary for someone to look at and quickly assess whether they like what you say, and what they want to pursue further.

So it needs to be concise, and balanced (err on the side of positivity, but don’t paint every job as a storming success). And be aware that, as your entry document into the job market, your resume could be one of the most important pieces of written communication that you ever write.

Job Search

Much of your early work will be done by email and website form-filling. Again, this involves written communication, and direct, to-the-point messages are essential here.

It is absolutely vital that you take in information here: reading, and listening if you’re enquiring on the telephone, so you don’t become a victim of your imagination and chase jobs that really aren’t suitable.

Telephone Interview

The next stage is usually telephone-based. So now you need to be clear, bright of voice and positive, as well as knowledgeable and competent. Many of the factors of face to face communication kick in, except that on the phone, you have no visual feedback, so you have no way of knowing how your message is being received. So, above all, don’t talk too much: for all you know, they may be holding the phone away from their ear while crossing you off their list.

Zoom Interview

This is becoming increasingly common, with the Covid pandemic accelerating a trend that was already there. It’s “sort of” face-to-face, but with the intimacy lacking. So there may be a slight lack of sharpness in communication, be ready for it, and be prepared by having a clear sense of positivity that you maybe wouldn’t need so much if you’re meeting in person.

And although you may feel relaxed doing the interview in your pyjama bottoms or baggy shorts, don’t let that lead to a sloppy performance.

Face-To-Face Interview

It’s rare for a job appointment to be made without some kind of meeting in person. You may be loading trucks or sweeping floors. Or working as an office clerk or truck driver. You could be a high-level executive. All will have a face-to-face meeting, even if it’s just a final, formality.

So now you’re into the realms of body language and presentation, which can be intimidating. But if you treat this as a friendly meeting, giving each side the chance to assess suitability, rather than a test you need to pass, it will help a lot. You’ll be relaxed and able to answer questions naturally and engagingly.  They will like you, and the work you’ve put into communicating well at every stage will have paid off.

If you want to get better at communicating, you have lots of options. But the quickest, and most flexible, solution is something like an online course that you can take, and refer back to, in your own time. Established specialists like Zandax can help with your communication skills with prices that are low and customer service that’s highly responsive. Clearly, this is just a suggestion we’ve found, and you make your own choice. But when you do this, you’ll find that not only do you have more success in the job market, but your newly-improved communication skills will benefit your personal relationships in every aspect of your life. Now there’s something to think about…

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Margaret Buj | Interview Coach | Career Coach

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