How to nail your interview: SMILE

Megan Cistulli | October 29, 2020 in Pearson Students

blog image alt text

Interviews are tough, but if you SMILE, you can nail them every time and get the job. Sure, your resume may be perfect, but the face-to-face interview can make or break whether or not the position is yours. Read on to learn about an acronym I created for the word SMILE to consistently thrive in interviews. It is as easy as smiling.

S- speak slowly

If you speak too fast, you come across as nervous, out of your element, and in a rush to leave. Slow down to improve enunciation, pronunciation, tone, and cadence. Equally important, a slower interview is more natural and conversational. Consequently, you create a more relaxed and comfortable environment for the employer interviewing you, and you become a person they would enjoy having on their team because of the natural dynamic you have established.

M- memorize material

You do not want to come across as robotic or too rehearsed, but you do need to know what you are talking about without constantly referencing your resume or notes. For example, when the interviewer asks about a past job you had, be able to talk about the details of your role and more importantly how that role would contribute to your success in the position you are interviewing for.

I- inspire your listeners

In an interview, you have to step out of your comfort zone and make the person having a conversation with you feel excited and energetic. Imagine how many conversations a single interviewer is required to listen to. The answer: a lot. You need to give the person sitting across from you a reason to hire you. What will you do for the company? Why are you special? How will you make a difference at this company when other candidates have the exact same credentials as you? Speak with some gusto and wow your audience.

L- listen carefully

One factor some people tend to leave out of their interview arsenal is listening carefully to what the interviewer says and the questions they ask. Do not glaze over tricky questions just to stick to a script that adheres to your resume. Remember, employers have seen your resume and that is why you got the interview. Interviewers want you to listen carefully to what they are saying then critically think about an answer that not only incorporates past experience, but also has a fresh perspective on the problem or task at hand.

E- explain your answers

This is not a time to be shy and hold back all of your brilliance which earned you an opportunity to interview. When you give an answer, explain it in a way that the employer can understand your experience. You must create a narrative.

Here’s an example. I played basketball at the collegiate level then stopped playing after I transferred to another school. If a potential employer asked about this, I’d want to give a thorough answer incorporating not only why I stopped playing, but what I gained from the experience. “As a collegiate player I had invaluable experiences like waking up at 5 a.m. for weight training, immediately heading to classes, then back to a second practice. The experience not only sharpened my mental and physical toughness but directly contributed to my outstanding work ethic, time management skills, and ability to work on a team productively and successfully. However, as my career goals began to take shape, I made the decision to transfer to a more rigorous and academic-focused school. I plan to earn a B.A. in political science focused in the public law sector and minor in Italian before attending law school.”

Remembering the SMILE acronym gives you a new perspective on the interview process and your interview arsenal. When you practice for an upcoming interview, take note of how fast you are talking, how natural you sound speaking about your past experiences, and how in depth you can elaborate on your ideas. One last thing to top of your interview, make sure you don’t forget to smile!