Interviews! Boy! Don’t they make you want to scream sometimes?
On the bright side, interviews are your opportunity to blow your prospective employer’s mind with your charm, confidence, and skill.
Still, walking into an interview can be nerve-racking. Here are some pointers to set you at ease and win over your interviewer.
1. Dress to kill.
Okay, not kill, just stun …. in other words, dress sharp and in tune with the organization interviewing you.
If you have no idea what the dress code is, ask the recruiter. Be sure to err on the side of formality. You don’t want to show up in jeans when everyone else is strutting around in suits. And don’t forget to make certain your shoes, nails, face, and hair are neat and presentable for your interview too!
2. Be organized.
Most interviews tend to be conducted by panels. Ensure you print out five copies of your CV; you never know how many interviewers will be there.
You should also keep your resume copies in a nice A4 envelope or a presentable file that you can easily pull from your bag. If you have to rummage through your belongings to get to your folders — with tissue and sweet wrappers falling out — you tend to look utterly confused and inept.
3. Know your interviewer and the role.
Gather as much information as you can on the company that will be interviewing you and the role you are interviewing for. You can get this information by asking friends who work at the company, reading newspaper articles on them, and even tracking their social media updates.
Also, get to know as much information as you can about the industry the company is in, including new trends, competitors, and market concerns. Remember, you need to convince your potential employer that you are the solution to their needs; you are offering a service and critical skills. If it looks like you’re simply trying to score a paycheck and mooch off their revenues, chances are they’re not going to invite you back.
4. Have answers at the ready.
When you are prepared, you are less likely to be nervous. So a little bit of homework and practice can make the interview much less painful.
There are some standard interview questions that employers will ask, such as:
- Tell us about yourself.
- How did you hear about this position?
- Why are you interested in this position/company?
- Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years?
You should have answers to these questions at the ready; rehearse them at home in front of the mirror or conduct mock interviews with a friend. You can write pointers on a small cue card that will remind you of the necessary responses — however, ditch the cards during the actual interview.
5. Have questions at the ready too.
At the end of any standard interview, you are always asked by the interviewer if you have any questions for them. This is a great opportunity to shine; ask some well-thought-out questions based on your research on the company and the job position you hope to fill.
6. Mind your body language.
Beware of your body language. You may have nailed everything else, but remember, your body speaks too. Hunching over your chair, rocking back and forth, or constantly yawning sends off a really bad signal.
On the other hand, you can also send positive signals: Maintain an upright posture, smile, always make eye contact, and offer a firm handshake. Also, don’t use too many hand gestures; you may try holding a pen or pencil if it helps calm your nerves and controls overzealous hand movements.
7. Rest up.
Finally, get sufficient rest prior to your interview. Sleep deprivation can do a number on you. The last thing you would want is to be late for an interview or mentally asleep when you don’t get sufficient sleep.
Eight hours is the recommended nightly amount. So turn in early and eat a good breakfast before you go — you don’t want your stomach answering questions on your behalf!
By Rose Odengo