By Dan Simmons

When it comes to a job interview, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.  There are a lot of things to do beforehand and a lot of things to remember.  However, during the interview itself—the actual process of being interviewed—there are just two things on which you need to concentrate.

Number one—Making the interviewers like you and respect what you could do for the company

If the decision-makers believe you will accomplish the company’s objectives, you’ll be considered for employment.  Being liked gets you an offer. I also discussed this in my previous blog post, “The Power of a Positive Attitude.”

As I mentioned in that post, it’s great to bring the technical (or “hard”) skills to the table that the company needs, but you also need to bring the “soft skills” or “people skills” that they want.  And more times than not, the reason that a hiring manager likes a candidate has more to do with their soft skills (and their positive attitude) than with their hard skills.  Technical skills will only take you so far.

Number two—Gathering as much information as possible

Why do this?  Aren’t you the one who must provide information during the interview?  Yes, but it’s not a one-way street.  Gathering information helps you to more accurately assess the interview after it’s over.

You may be tempted to process information during the interview.  This can cause you to make mistakes, so don’t do it.  After the interview, you’ll have plenty of time to decide if this is a good career move.

Keep your focus on the interview’s overriding objective: securing an employment offer.

The best strategy is to try your best to be in a position to get an offer.  Remember, you can always decline it if you believe the opportunity is not for you.  The adage “one step at a time” has never been more true than during a job interview.  Hiring managers can sense indecision, so simply gather the information.  Don’t analyze it—yet.

So remember to focus on just these two things during the job interview and nothing else.  Simplifying your thought process will go a long way toward increasing your chances for success.