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How to Polish Your Interview Skills

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By Kaylor Jones
Professional Writing and Psychology, Honors College

The key step in landing any job is gaining the interview skills needed to convince the employer that you’re the right fit. For in-depth advice on interviewing, resume building and professional development, consider looking into the Honors College’s six-week program, the Personal, Academic and Career (P.A.C.) Boot Camp. With a strong academic background from Grand Canyon University’s Honors College and well-practiced interview skills, you’re well on your way to the top!

Know the Talking Points

One of the best ways to increase your confidence walking into an interview is to practice your answers. There are many resources with example interview questions online that can help you know what to expect instead of walking in blind. Common questions include:

  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you speak about a time when you overcame a problem?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What do you look for in a work environment?
  • Why should we hire you?

These questions all open up opportunities to sell yourself to the employer. Make sure to read the job description carefully and cater your answers to the specific position you’ve applied for. Give examples from previous experiences to strengthen your responses, just as you would use sources as evidence in an essay. Remember, an interview isn’t like a normal conversation. Everything you say should work towards your purpose: convincing the interviewer that you are the best choice for the job. Don’t ramble; talk about only the most relevant information. Expand upon the most important items on your resume and leave the interviewer impressed by how capable you are!

Pay Attention to Nonverbal Communication

Nonverbal communication can often say as much about you as your words do. Research the position you’re interviewing for and dress yourself appropriately. After arriving 10 to 15 minutes early, start the interview off with a firm handshake. Good posture indicates interest and confidence, and eye contact lets them know you’re actively listening. Be sure to smile, but there’s a fine line between looking positive and grinning excessively. You’ve heard it said that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and that is especially true when it comes to interviews.

Ask Questions

Interviews are a two-way street. At the conclusion of the interview, you will most likely be asked if you have any questions for them. This provides an opportunity to learn more about the position you’ve applied for and make sure it really is the right fit for you. Asking questions also displays that you are attentive and interested in the company itself. Arriving with well-thought out questions to ask once prompted will impress them with your planning skills.

After the Interview

Your interview isn’t over as soon as you walk out the door. Send an email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration as soon as you can. By initiating contact, you reaffirm your interest and keep yourself fresh in their minds. An impressive thank-you email can set you apart from the dozens of other candidates they may be interviewing.

For more help strengthening your interview skills, take advantage of some of the opportunities presented to you at GCU and email careerservices@gcu.edu to schedule a one-on-one appointment with a career advisor.

To learn more about how you can join the community of motivated and ambitious students in Grand Canyon University’s Honors College, visit our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

About Kaylor Jones
Professional Writing & Psychology Major ’21, Copywriter for GCU Blogs

Kaylor Jones is a sophomore at Grand Canyon University studying professional writing and psychology in the Honors College. Her dream is to be able to combine her love for writing and passion for travel in a way that will change people’s perspectives on the world. She hopes to one day touch people’s lives in the same way so many have touched hers. When she’s not at work or school, she enjoys learning new things, painting and listening to 80’s rock music. Her favorite thing in the world is her dog.

Read more about Kaylor.