Improving Your Interview Communication Skills

by | Sep 5, 2023 | Interviewing

Nerves, if not managed properly, can prove fatal to an individual’s job search, especially during the interview. It is a given that not everyone is the best communicator, especially when facing the nerve-inducing stress of being questioned for a new job. There are steps that you can take, however, that will assist you in being more comfortable and, therefore, a better communicator in the interview.

A lot has been written about extroverts (more outgoing people) being better at interviewing than someone who is introverted. While that may be true overall, there are many extroverts who freeze when faced with having to respond to a Hiring Manager and the questions asked during an interview. As referenced earlier, the good news is that there are things that you can do to improve your communication skills during the interview. Doing this will not only assist you in impressing the interviewer during the discussion but will serve to reinforce that you also have the verbal tools to perform in the job.

• The most obvious thing you can do is practice for the questions of the interview. By anticipating the questions that you will be asked and mentally preparing your answer, you will be much more comfortable when it actually happens. It is usually best to practice your answers by delivering it to another person who can critique you (so use someone that will not just tell you what you want to hear, although positive reinforcement is good too!). If this is not available to you, then practicing in front of a mirror can be quite helpful, as it allows you to visualize yourself making eye contact, etc. The idea is that the repetition and feedback received will bring a comfort level to you that will carry over into the interview. An in-depth review of several frequently asked questions can be found on This will give you an idea of why the question is being asked and suggestions for how to best respond.

• Preparing your schedule for the interview can also remove some of the stress that may make it difficult to interview well. So, schedule enough hours in order to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Those who don’t sleep enough may find that their brain is a little off, making it difficult to quickly process a question and then be able to deliver an answer. If the interview is in-person, then you will want to give yourself more than enough time to arrive early for the appointment You don’t want to be quickly pulling into the parking lot after battling traffic and then running into the interview without time to properly gather yourself.

• Use the provided small talk to acclimate yourself. A good interviewer will start the conversation with some small talk about the weather or some other benign topic. The idea is to get you talking about a subject that everyone can discuss (something non-controversial in order to make you feel more relaxed. Take advantage of this time to normalize your speech cadence and volume. You should also be using this time to bond a little with your hiring manager.

• Don’t just jump into your answers. Spend some time thinking of your response to the question prior to speaking. You can acknowledge that you are thinking of the best example and can even flatter the interviewer by stating how good of a question you have been asked. Not only will this technique help to calm you down so you can speak clearly and more concisely, but you may also find that you provide a better answer. In order to pace yourself, you may want to make a clock in your heart and after you reach 5-7 seconds of silence begin your response.

• Speak honestly and from the heart to the interviewer. It is much harder to make up stories, explanations, and examples then it is to tell the truth. Telling mistruths is stressful, and (for most) it is difficult to do without telltale signs of distress. You also have the burden of trying to remember what you said in the lie, which causes you to think more about how to keep your story straight than how to answer the next question that has been presented.

While you don’t have the verbal communication skills of a broadcaster to perform adequately in an interview, you do have to be able to be to fully participate in the conversation. This means not only sufficiently answering the questions presented, but also showing that you have the proper overall verbal skills.

As always, the best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein

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