8 Top tips for breaking the ice at an interview

Dec 3, 2015

The first few moments of an interview can be unnerving but it needn’t be with these top interview ice-breaking tips.

The key to winning at interviews is to enjoy them. Melting an icy atmosphere, so to speak, will help by making you feel more relaxed and able to perform at your best. Here are my top tips for breaking the ice at an interview.

Tip 1: Change the way you think about the interviewer

You may be surprised to know it starts with the way you think about the interviewer. The interviewer sitting in front of you is just a person. He/she is not an alien, he/she is not God and he/she is not out to destroy you. He is simply trying to find out if you are the best person for the job, if you really want it for the right reasons and if you will fit in. That’s the first place you need to start when it comes to tips for breaking the ice at an interview.

Tip 2: Change the way you think about yourself

Know that you can do this job better than anyone else. If you only think you can then you may not come across as very convincing to the interviewer. You also need think in terms of giving rather than just taking. What do you have to give, to bring to the role? Keep that in mind. Have lots of evidence to back up why this job provides the perfect opportunity for you to give back. Finally, don’t get caught up with thinking that if you don’t get this job there will never be another like it. Whilst it may be a once in a life time opportunity avoid giving off an air of desperation by knowing that the industry has a space enough for you.

Tip 3: Create an elevator pitch

My next tip for breaking the ice at an interview is: develop a short statement that can be used in response to questions such as ‘Tell me about yourself’ or ‘Describe yourself’. The pitch should describe your key interests and skills, how you got here, and where you want to be say five years from now. It should be relevant to the job and last no longer than the time it takes to travel one floor in an elevator. If it helps practise in a real one.

Tip 4: Get an inking about the questions you’re likely to be asked

Most interview situations can be faced quite confidently if you take a little time to think about what you might be asked beforehand so do your research to find out what type of questions tend to come up at similar interviews. Granted, you may find hundreds, but you will usually see that they are simply variations of the same questions posed in different ways.

Tip 5: Tell great stories

In relation to Tip 4, you are not going to enjoy the interview if you sit there worried about whether you will remember your rehearsed answers to the interview questions you’ve come across during your research! Try to think in terms of stories to tell rather than word-for-word answers to give. This will help your responses to come across much more relaxed. This is one of the most useful tips for breaking the ice at an interview.

Tip 6: Never tell lies on your CV

Lots of candidates get found out at the interview stage because employers discover that claims on their CVs aren’t true. If you know you were not single-handedly responsible for producing that piece of work or increasing turnover for your department don’t claim it was so. That way you won’t have to sit through an icy interview fearing specific questions.

Tip 7: Research the company and its competitors

This is one of the most important tips for breaking the ice at an interview. Lack of research is the reason many stumble during an interview. Few things are as foolish as turning up for an interview without bothering to find out anything about the company itself. This clearly shows that you really aren’t that interested in the job at all. Research the company and its competitors and you will never run out of great things to say.

Tip 8: Strengthen your weak areas

You may have weak areas on your CV, such as gaps in your employment history or no qualifications in an area that is considered desirable for the industry you want to work in. Think beforehand how you will deal with questions about these weaker areas and stick to them. Talk about them in a way that brings out your desire to learn, solve a problem, develop or plan your career direction. For example, failure often brings new opportunities so whenever you talk about yours remember to also include what you learned from it.

Use these handy tips for breaking the ice at an interview to make your next interview an enjoyable rather than dreaded occasion. You’ll stand much greater chance of getting the job you want when you look like you want to be there!

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