As an administrative assistant, you know just how important first impressions are. Since these roles typically require interaction with staff and clients at all levels, employers will be assessing your professional communication skills during in-person and phone interviews. After all, communication is a skill that can determine success in a potential role, so it holds a lot of weight in the decision making process.
“Hiring managers will be paying close attention to how you communicate during the interview, so you’ll want to ensure you’re sharp and engaged throughout the entire process,” notes Tessa Ganassi, Managing Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support & Human Resources divisions. If you’re looking to display strong professional communication skills in an interview, here are several steps you should take for success:
Hold eye contact
For a hiring manager, maintaining eye contact during an interview is an indicator of how engaged you are. If you struggle to maintain eye contact when you are nervous, make a conscious effort to hold eye contact with friends and family as you talk with them throughout the week. Practicing in a casual setting will ultimately make you feel more comfortable during the interview.
“A great way to make a positive impression on a hiring manager is conveying your professional communication skills through storytelling,” says Tessa. “However, you want to make sure you don’t start rambling to the point where you fail to answer the original question.” Before you go into your next interview, take a look over your resume and, for each skill and ability you have listed, assign a particular story to that item. For example, if you have strong interpersonal skills, tell the hiring manager a story about a time where you had to work on a project with multiple people and how you handled it.
Be aware of your tone
For a hiring manager, the way you speak can be what sets you apart from the other candidates they are considering. “When you go into an interview, it’s crucial to articulate yourself well,” emphasizes Tessa. “Interviewers are particularly sensitive to poor speaking habits such as upspeak and vocal fry, so you’ll want to really assess if you do these things.”
To determine whether or not you need to make an improvement, use your phone to record your voice when practicing your responses to common interview questions. Hearing your own voice may make you feel uncomfortable, but taking the time to work on improving it can be what ultimately lands you the job!
Take cues from your interviewer
A successful interviewee is an individual who can quickly adjust on the fly. As you make your way through the interview, you may find that you’re losing the interviewer along the way. If this is the predicament that you find yourself in, focus on their body language and communication style as they are talking to you and try to mimic those patterns going forward. By doing so, a hiring manager will be able to assess your ability to read other people and respond accordingly — a key administrative trait!