How to nail an interview!

By Camila – 4th February 2020

Have you ever been in a job interview when you get asked a question that really throws you off your seat? You seem to have everything covered, you talked about your CV, skills and experience and suddenly the interviewer wants to know about your approach to a problem? 

One of the skills we aim to harvest at Toastmasters is being able to speak coherently, following a structure when we are not prepared. Job interviews were the theme for the night and Tom – our Table Topic Master – did a brilliant job at getting every volunteer to participate with an unexpected question. The attendees who participated in Table Topics were tasked to hypothetic scenarios of job interviews; some of the most quirky ones were:

  • You are walking past a bakery and you need to decide between carrot cake and chocolate cake; which one do you choose and why?
  • When applying to a job in the London Zoo; what animal would you be and why?
  • If you want to get an archaeology job; do you see yourself as a hunter or as a gathered?
  • You need to get a job as a superhero; what’s your superpower?

However, before the exciting and fun Table Topics activity, we had four inspiring speakers who have different objectives and aims for the night. Below you will find a brief summary of what each speaker did brilliantly and where they have a chance to grow. So take note as these recommendations and commendations might be helpful for you too.

George introduced his ice-breaker (whoop, whoop) with excellent use of voice variation, calmed presence on stage and well-structured format. Engaging the audience with humour, George captured our attention on this speech titled ‘Oh Really?’ where he exposed the different questions he often gets from people about his heritage. George is a confident speaker and was recommended by Finlay to project his voice towards the end of the room (if you’ve been to Hotel Wellington where Toastmasters London Victorias in held, you might know it’s a challenging echo room).

Annabel took us on a journey to her travels around South America. Through the use of analogies, metaphors and adjectives, we embarked on her trip to Peru and visited three different landscapes where she met three different men that taught her about the culture and life itself – hence the name of the speech ‘A Tale of Three Men. Jackie recognised her natural and confident presence on stage as well as the structure and eye contact to engage the audience. Full of interesting facts, Jackie recommended Annabel to decide on one purpose for the speech as we all got both inspired and informed about Peru.

Learning more about your communication style. Agatha delivered an outstanding, informative and structured speech about how she has been finding her own path to reveal her style. She got the audience thinking and wondering about how we can identify our own. Huge and positive impact also mentioned by Steph who evaluated Agatha by evidencing the great job she did on stage. (I personally got hooked from when I read the tongue twister title ‘What To Say When You Say What You Say’)

During the guest presentation, all of the first-timers mentioned the inspiring speech by Chris titled ‘My Steps At Competence’ at Toastmasters. With his 10th speech completed as part of the Competent Communication Manual, Chris described all of the challenges faced from day one at the club. He grabbed our attention from the very first moment and managed to keep on engaging us by telling the story with relatable moments we have been in regardless of the expertise level. Chris showcased the perfect example to go from zero to more than a lot in the Toastmaster journey.

Other advice from Mo who evaluated table topics which might be useful to have at hand:

  • Make stories personal and also contextual to a common subject in the news everyone in the audience can be familiar with
  • Throw questions back to the audience by engaging with eye-contact and pauses
  • Voice projection is definitely key
  • In table topics, try to avoid ‘I don’t know’, you do know as you are the boss when you go up to the stage

I have to say, another stimulating, exciting, impressive night at Toastmasters!