You have reached here because you have that important job interview lined up and you have butterflies in your stomach. First off, let me say that you are not the only one to feel this way. Run a Google search for “job Interviews’ and there are more than 2 billion results. What questions you can be asked, how to modify your body language, what to wear – the questions are endless and the advice more so. Having sat on the other side of the interview table often, as well as inputs from our HR recruiting clients, here are a few insider tips to get you started.
1. Preparation well before the interview
You have written a professional resume that has set you up for the interview. It is perfectly alright to be nervous before an interview but remember that being well prepared is going to make you more confident. There are a few things you just must do before an interview and it is all to do with research.
Know the company: I’ve forgotten the many times I have drawn a blank when I’ve asked a candidate what they knew about my company. This is a big NO, so definitely visit the company website and learn more. But don’t stop there, look up their social media pages too, it is a good indicator of what is important to the company as well as an insight into the culture. If through your network, you know of anyone working here, do try to reach out to them to learn more. This is a good way to impress a future manager.
Prepare to show you are a good fit: The job description has listed specific responsibilities so think out a few action plans both short term and long term that you can slip into the interview. Remember the interviewer is trying to evaluate what you can bring to the role. You need to stand out from your competitors or be forgotten. This is also a good way to prepare for that imminent question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Or if the interviewer asks “What are your strengths?” again slipping these ideas in can make your answer be more specific.
Be ready with questions: This is another biggie. To a great extent this is a two-way communication. Don’t only wait for the interviewer to ask the questions. Slip in a few where you can. It shows that you are a leader and not a follower and are confident enough to ask what you need to know. It will also make you prepared for another interview favorite “Have you any questions for me?” Keep these questions to the job or company. Do not use this as an opportunity to ask about salary, working hours etc. That can come later. A few good questions are
- Is there programs for professional development opportunities?
- How would a typical work day for this job profile be?
- What are the biggest rewards working with your company?
- What is my career path in this company, starting from this position?
2. On the interview day
Here are a few do’s and don’ts for the interview day. Of course, it goes without saying that you bring along a copy of your resume and any other papers that might be important.
- Be early. Arrive a good 15 minutes before the interview time. It will give you time to take a few deep breaths and calm yourself. Being late sends the wrong message.
- Dress for success. Business casual is usually a safe way to go if you are not sure if a suit is too much. However, never dress as a slob. Also keep the accessories down to a minimum. This is not the time for bling. First impressions are important.
- Don’t smell of smoke.This often flies below the radar as no one will make a point of telling you. You might want one to calm your nerves but if you must then have a mint. There is nothing more off-putting than a candidate coming in with the smell of stale tobacco and smoke.
- Put Your Mobile on silent: Don’t skip this. No one wants to be disturbed by a phone going off. It is bad etiquette too.
3. At the Interview
With the pre-interview research and practice in place you are already well prepared. Now all it takes is making the good impression.
Body Language: Don’t slouch, it makes you appear less confident or even worse as being disinterested. The first handshake should be firm and quick. Don’t crush hands or offer a sweaty palm. Smile sometimes and maintain eye contact while speaking. It is proven that a smile makes you feel happy and so more relaxed. It also helps you to connect better with your interviewer than a tense face. If there is a panel, don’t focus on one person but address your remarks to all by focusing different answers at different people.
Phone or video interviews: Make sure you have a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. You might not want your dog pitching in with a loud bark. Also make sure you have all the technology in place before the interview starts.
Voice modulation: Take a few seconds to think out replies rather than burst into speech, particularly if you are already nervous. While ensuring you don’t rattle off replies, keep the tone and volume of your voice pitch as calm and moderated. The danger of this is that you might appear robotic so vary your pitch to avoid coming across as boring.
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