5 Steps to Acing Your Communication in Interviews
It’s no secret that communication skills and the ability to convey information clearly is key to landing almost any job. In our experience, stress and a lack of preparation and structure often get in the way of candidates’ ability to express themselves well during an interview – that’s why we’ve put together this 5-step guide to ace your communication during your future interviews!
1. Be prepared
Interviewers can easily pick up whether you’ve prepared for the interview and will usually ask you specific questions to test whether you did – don’t let them catch you off guard! While it does not always mean you won’t succeed in the interview, keep in mind that you’ll never regret preparing, but you’ll always regret when you didn’t.
What should you prepare? We’ve written a few other articles on this topic.
As a reminder, make sure to prepare these 3 things:
- Company Strategy: The company’s business model, what their goals are and how they intend to get them. What are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the industry? Have you used the product/site and how does it feel as a user? Check the company pages, do some research on the industry and competition, or check for any relevant company news or press.
- Company Culture: What does the company’s organizational and work culture look like? What are the similarities/differences to your current company? Do you have concerns? What excites you about it?
- The role itself: Read the job ad again and look at the skill requirements. These will give you an indication of what else to prepare (see step 2).
2. Have concrete examples ready
Regardless of the job, it’s always important prior to think about situational examples that can tell the interviewer more about how you work and think prior to the interview: situations or projects you failed or succeeded at, challenges you overcame and/or which made you grow, etc. Choose examples that involves stakeholder management, project management and team work.
And, most importantly, connect your examples to the job requirements and highlight that connection. This will come in very handy especially when interviewers use situational questions. For each examples, don’t forget to reflect about what you would do differently if you were in a similar situation again.
3. Show you can zoom out
While communicating your previous experiences, show you understand the bigger picture (the broader context) and can break projects down into smaller tasks.In real life, you wouldn’t answer questions such as “how would you kick-off project A” within a couple of minutes. We also don’t expect you to be able to do that in interviews. What we’re interested in is how you would approach project A. For instance, an answer could be “Firstly, I would align on the scope and timeline; secondly, I would try to understand who the stakeholders are, and lastly organize a brainstorming session with them”.
A common method called STAR illustrates this well. It is an acronym that stands for: Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example. Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation. Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it. Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved. Each letter completes the picture, but be mindful to spend most of your answer on the Actions and Results.
4. Structure your answers in 2-3 points
Following the example above, funneling your thoughts will help you to structure your answer well. Ideally, try to give 2-3 arguments, steps or options. For example, when asked to introduce yourself what are the 2-3 things we should know that are relevant to the position? Same goes for other questions where there are many things you’d like to mention. Avoid shooting in many directions and rather concentrate your answers around a couple of key focus points only.
5. Keep it crisp
First things first, if you’re not sure you understood the question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification rather than jumping in and fumbling around with your answer.
Especially when you’re excited about a position, it’s tempting to share too much information with the interviewer. By oversharing, you risk coming across as unstructured and your message will be diluted. What you can do instead is to offer a concise answer, but then offer to provide more information if necessary, for instance by asking “Would you like me to go into more detail?”. Don’t worry, if the interviewers feel like you haven’t fully answered the question or want more information, they’ll follow up on your answer 😉
That about sums it up already. We hope that helps! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with your questions or feedback on this article on our Life at trivago Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Last but not least, we wish you all the best for your next interview!
P.S. Listening is key to good communication. Make sure you’re actively picking up on what your interviewer is saying as it can give you many insights and help you prepare questions and for future interviews.
Thanks to our Talent Acquisition Team Lead Lucie for compiling this article!