Most non-executive director interviews, within SMEs, can be a more informal affair. The board are often looking for more than an impressive executive or entrepreneurial CV; they are looking for signs that they can work with the candidate over the medium to long term.
There are several important skills that can be helpful to have when being interviewed. Some of the most important ones include:
- Communication: Being able to effectively communicate your thoughts, ideas, and qualifications is crucial in an interview. This includes being able to articulate your experiences and accomplishments clearly and concisely, as well as actively listening to the interviewer’s questions and responding thoughtfully.
- Confidence: It’s important to show confidence in your abilities and qualifications during an interview. This doesn’t mean you should be arrogant or overconfident, but rather that you should be able to speak confidently about your strengths and experiences.
- Preparation: Being well-prepared for an interview can make a big difference in how you come across. This includes researching the company and position, practicing common interview questions, and having a good understanding of your own qualifications and how they fit with the job requirements.
But the most important skill of all is “listening”.
Many would argue that listening is not a skill but if you have ever tried to interview someone who fails to listen, you will know why this skill is indeed the most important of all.
Listening is a crucial skill in any conversation, and it’s especially important in an interview setting. Effective listening involves paying attention to what the other person is saying, engaging with the conversation, and asking clarifying questions when necessary. It also involves being present in the moment and not letting your mind wander or getting distracted.
Good listening skills can show the interviewer that you are engaged, interested, and invested in the conversation and the position. It can also help you understand the needs of the company and tailor your responses accordingly. It sounds such a simple skill, doesn’t it?
Listening is not just about hearing the words that are being said, but also about understanding the meaning behind them. It’s important to listen actively and with an open mind in order to fully grasp the information being shared.
Here are a number of tips for practicing active listening:
- Focus your attention on the speaker: Make eye contact and avoid distractions such as checking your phone or looking around the room.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues: Notice the speaker’s body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions, as these can provide valuable information and context.
- Clarify and ask questions: If you are unsure about something the speaker has said, ask for clarification. This shows that you are engaged and interested in the conversation.
- Repeat back what you heard: Paraphrasing what the speaker has said can help you ensure that you have fully understood their message.
- Avoid interrupting: Let the speaker finish their thought before speaking. Interrupting can show a lack of respect and can disrupt the flow of the conversation.
- Stay open-minded: Try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions about what the speaker is saying. Instead, listen with an open mind and consider their perspective.
By following these tips, you can improve your active listening skills and have more productive and meaningful conversations.