Nearly every job advertisement demands ‘good communication skills’, irrespective of the job role or level of seniority. But what does being a good communicator actually mean? And how can you capitalise on this over-used phrase to ace job interviews?
To prove your communication skills are top notch, you will need to think about body language as well as your written and spoken communication. How articulate and personable you are in an interview is usually how assessment panels decide your level of communication competence!
So before you start your job hunt, make sure you’re adhering to these all-important rules. Following them could be the difference between landing your dream job or being passed over for somebody else.
Before you hit that submit button, make sure you’ve proofread your resume and application. Sending it through to family and friends is a good way to get feedback before you hand it in. An extra set of eyes will make it easier to spotlight grammatical errors, any formatting issues and encourage you to really sell yourself on paper. When employers only have words on a page to judge you by, spelling mistakes or an unprofessional email address can speak volumes! So take the time to comb through your application and ensure you’re sending through the right message.
When it comes to first impressions, you only get one shot at it! Experts say people will make a judgment about you within the first few seconds of seeing you, so it’s important you have your non-verbal communication down pat. To nail that first interview, make sure you have done your research and you look the part. Research has shown that employers are more inclined to favour you at an interview if you are wearing similar clothes to existing employees (literally, looking the part). Your outfit and personal style is a visual indicator of how well you’ll fit in with the office culture, so consider your outfit to be a part of your non-verbal communication.
Body language plays a huge role in communication. It affects how you come across, how people perceive you, and could ultimately differentiate you from other front-runners in a job application process. Obvious things to remember to do include making good eye contact, giving a firm handshake, leaning forwards and avoid using negative body language such as crossing your arms or fidgeting.
Mimicking the other person’s body language, in a subtle way, is another way to connect to someone and is a good safety net if you’re not confident in your body language skills.
Making a personal connection with your interviewer and communicating your enthusiasm, passion and substantial skillset is crucial to acing any job interview. One great way to do this is to make sure you do your homework about the business, as well as some of its senior employees.
Make sure you have formed a couple of questions to ask at the interview to show you have developed some knowledge about the company. Don’t forget that you also need to be convinced that this is somewhere you want to work, so the questions you ask should also help you clarify whether this is the right role and cultural fit for you. You could ask about what a typical day would look like, what are the organisation’s goals, how many staff are employed and who you would report to.
Don’t forget that it’s ok to admit a little vulnerability such as being nervous and sharing small amounts of personal information, like watching your favourite footy team last weekend. Showing a more personal side can also help you connect to your interviewers and give them a good idea of your personality.
Before your interview finishes, make sure you have an idea about when you should hear back about the job. If the turnaround is two weeks and you still haven’t heard anything, make sure you follow-up with the business.
If you aren’t successful, it’s worth taking the time to book in around 15 minute phone conversation with someone from your panel to get some feedback on your performance. It can be amazing what others see which you may have missed, and will most definitely help you in your next interview.