Interviews can be intimidating, but like anything else, they are a skill that can be prepared for, practiced and perfected. They are a chance for an employer to see if you’re the right person for the job but also to help you decide whether the job and company are right for you. So, here are some tips on how to prepare for your interview and what you can do during your interview.
How can you prepare yourself before an interview?
Research the company and industry
It’s likely you’ll be asked about what you know about the company or industry, so before your interview, make sure you’re prepared with research and knowledge to present to the interviewer.
Sometimes it can be difficult to remember everything about the company or industry but that’s okay you’re not expected to. As long as you can provide some key points and show you have done the research you will be fine. Demonstrating research and some knowledge of the company will also help to show the interviewer that you are interested in working for their specific company.
Be prepared to answer a variety of questions
The majority of the time interviewers will ask questions from four main categories; personality based, competency based, motivation based and curveballs. These will often involve giving examples of a time where you have experienced or dealt with a certain situation, so always be prepared to give evidence of a scenario you have experienced in your answer. Structuring your response with examples will help you to answer to even the most difficult interview questions.
Practice makes perfect
Having an idea of what you might say is great, but it’s another thing to be able to confidently say it aloud in a convincing way. Familiarising yourself with your answers for some general questions will help you to sound more confident in the actual interview. Get a friend or family member to do some interview role-play with you, this is a great way to practice and get a feel for how the real thing will be.
Calm your nerves
It’s natural to feel anxious before an interview, no matter how experienced you are but learning to prepare and calm your pre-interview nerves can help channel that into something positive. Here are a few things you can do to help calm your nerves before an interview:
- Give yourself a pep talk – embrace positive self-talk.
- Speak or call someone who will encourage you – listen and let them give you advice.
- Eat a good breakfast or lunch – don’t leave on an empty stomach!
- Practice makes perfect – make yourself more familiar with your material.
- Know who you are meeting with and where – avoid the stress and time of not knowing where to go or who to ask for.
- Inject some perspective – remember they are just another human being, like you and will have seen plenty of nerves before.
So, don’t speak too fast, don’t be afraid to take a pause before answering a question, keep a positive mindset and smile. Remember, it’s just a conversation.
What can you do during the interview?
Make the most of the ‘tell me about yourself’ question
This is usually the starter question in most interviews, and it is a great chance to let the company know who you are as a person and why they should hire you. This question, when used to it’s advantage, can give a good impression and make a good impact at the beginning so make the most of it.
Focus your answer around your career journey; what are you currently doing, what path did you take to get there (focusing on relevant experience) and where this is taking you now (why you’re interested in this job).
Clarify your selling points
Make sure you answer the questions clearly and show you want the job. Evidence your most relevant skills, experience and achievements in your answers will demonstrate your selling points and show the interviewer why they should hire you.
Speak with the right body language
How you present yourself through body language can impact the interviewer’s impression of you, so you want to make sure you are setting a good example. Don’t slouch or lean on the desk, sit naturally and remember to smile and keep regular eye contact. This way, you’ll seem more interested and professional, which is exactly want a company wants to see.
Prepare questions for the interviewer
Coming to the interview with some intelligent questions for the interviewer is a great way to showcase your interest in the company and the role itself. Interviewers will always ask if you have any questions, and you should have one or two ready. Here are some good questions to ask:
- “What do you think is best about working here?”
- “What kind of person would you like to see fill this position?”
You can also try to think of one or two questions during the interview too as there may be things covered that you are unsure about or would like to ask more on, which is absolutely fine, so make sure you do so.
After the interview
At the end of the interview, make sure to thank the interviewer for their time. Reflect on how you think the interview went and leave with a positive mindset, but also don’t be disheartened if you don’t get the response you want to hear, there will always be other opportunities. Keep on following the tips above to help you progress.
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