Take a Practice Interview, Hone Your Speaking Skills

Last Updated Jan 12, 2010 9:31 PM EST

I've hired my share of people over the years, and I can confirm something you've probably always suspected but didn't know for sure -- your odds of getting hired plummet in proportion to how uncomfortable or unprepared you appear to be when speaking to the interviewer.

No matter how qualified you are, or how snazzy your resume looks, you absolutely should be calm, cool, and collected in the interview. You should have a general idea how you plan to answer all the most common questions, and be able to adapt to follow-up questions and sound smart, thoughtful, and prepared every step of the way. You should never be totally stumped; always be able to give an opinion or provide a relevant annecdote.

That sounds like a tall order, but help is on the way. I've found a tool to help you get ready for your next interview.

It's actually a clever idea -- Better Talking lets you participate in a practice interview you conduct over the phone with a non-judgmental, pre-recorded bot. The process is simple. Sign up for free at Better Talking, then call the service (it's an 866 number) and enter the PIN you got during sign up. You'll have an opportunity to answer nine typical interview questions, like "What are your goals for the future?" and "What type of work motivates you the most?"

After the interview is over, you'll get an e-mail with a link to listen to your performance. You can also loop in other people to give you feedback as well by sharing the results on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Obviously, Better Talking won't help you hone your skills at thinking on your feet by reacting to follow-up questions, and there's nothing here specific to your particular career field. But if you're uncomfortable talking about yourself, need to strike verbal pauses from your vocabulary, or just want to hear what you sound like answering softball interview questions, you should definitely give this site a shot. [via MakeUseOf]