Alas, It is a fact of life that most companies still use the interview to select candidates to fill vacancies. Interviews are regularly conducted to assess performance or to judge promotion prospects.
For some people having to face an interview is agony; it can be quite terrifying to realise that our lives can be changed for better or worse just by the way in which we handle ourselves at these interviews.
Learning to handle ourselves confidently at the interview is a basic skill that everyone needs. There is no use in being the best qualified or the most experienced if every time we go for an interview we fall apart.
One of the easiest ways to make yourself memorable is learning how to answer the questions. Most of the interview will consists of questions, and it will be the one that gives the interviewers what they want that will stand out. Answering questions is not difficult, especially if you know the simple communication tricks of the experts!
First, you must listen to the question – all the way through. Most of us will listen to just enough of the question to start thinking about a response. What often happens then is that we answer the question we thought we heard, rather than the question that was asked. This will fail to impress.
Unfortunately, there are some people that find it difficult to articulate their question properly, and even though we have listened carefully, we are not exactly sure of what the question is about. We may try to risk it and hope for the best; but the better solution is to clarify. We can do that by asking the question, as we understand it, back to interviewer – “As I understand you what you are asking is …” This gives the interviewer the opportunity to rephrase if it was misunderstood.
Once we have it quite clear in our mind what is being asked, we can start to formulate our response. But first, a moment for quiet reflection; don’t be afraid to ‘pause for thought’ before rushing in with your reply. Then having collected your thoughts, you need a way to formulate a coherent response that will make you stand out.
The Formula is a simple and easy-to-remember way of structuring an impromptu response which will allow you to stay focussed on the topic. We call it “The PREP Factor”
P The Point of speaking – what is the main point of my response? This is the answer to the question, the personal point of view or the vital piece of information sought. It is the WHAT and shows that you know what you are talking about – You are informative.
R The Reason– This is the reason for your point. This is where you explain why it is important, how you arrived at your point of view or the value of your information. This part of the formula helps to show that you are a credible source of information.
E The Examples of points – Personal examples of your meaning, or to highlight your points of view are the best way to demonstrate your response. Comments such as “Let me give you an example of what I mean” or “For instance – in the news last night…” will demonstrate why your opinion is correct, or why the information is vitally important, or why the procedures needed changing; and by being personalised the listener can now connect with your information. When you can cite personal experiences to demonstrate your point of view, you become a believable source.
P Restate your Point – this is a brief recap of your main points, or your opinion, which rounds the response off and gives your listeners a clear indication that you have finished your reply. You have responded concisely.
This simple formula helps us explain in straightforward terms what we know, think or feel, and why that is so. We make our information relevant to the questions with explanations of how it fits into the bigger picture before making it personal with anecdotes. Finally, restating the purpose of speaking again signals to the interviewer that we have completed our response
Time is limited in an interview and if we are to make a lasting impression, we need to use our time wisely. Using the formula we can effectively highlight our abilities and show why we are much the best choice to fill this vacancy. Effective communication will always put you in focus.
Michele @ Trischel