Your palms are sweaty. Your heart is racing. You are crossing your fingers hoping that this job interview will be a success.
Ever felt like that heading into a job interview? It can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. We checked in with our Manager, Talent Acquisition, Anjana to get her advice on how to be as prepared as possible and ready to ace your next job interview.
How to deal with those pesky nerves
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to arrive early. By giving yourself enough time to arrive in advance, you can have a moment to relax, have a glass of water and take some deep breaths.
You’ll also want to be as prepared as possible. Think about your knowledge, skills and abilities in the context of the role ahead of time and make some notes. What makes you the best candidate? Share your story and explain why you would be a great fit.
Remember, the job interview process isn’t just you answering questions. It’s also an opportunity for you to interview the company or organization to see if they’re a fit for you. Bring a few questions with you to ask the interviewer.
A successful interview is about you leaving a positive impression. It’s a foot in the door to build your network. If the job isn’t meant to be for right now, focus on making a great impression and keeping the door open for future opportunities.
What to wear and how to prepare
If you’re in doubt, ask the recruiter or HR rep if you should dress in business casual or formal. If you don’t feel comfortable asking, it’s best to err on the side of over formality. The biggest faux pas is dressing too casually. And as much as I love a fabulous pair of jeans – not for an interview. It’s all about setting the tone for a great first impression.
How to prepare. If there are components of the role that you want to help refine your answers to, it can be helpful to do a mock interview with a friend or a family member. But there is also a risk in it being too rehearsed. You don’t want to go into robot mode and risk not active listening and being authentic in the moment.
Dos and Don’ts
- Be yourself! Fit to a position is critical. The interviewer needs to get an insight into who you are so you’re both set up for success.
- Be honest and real about your strengths and areas of development.
- Research the organization. You should do this prior to the initial phone interview and have some questions prepared.
- Don’t give the standard and generic I’m a perfectionist or I have problems saying no as a response to an area of development. Think about your specific areas of development and own who you are. Be ready to share some specific examples.
- Don’t take the lead in the interview. You will want to allow the interviewer to have time to ask their questions and for you to answer.
- Don’t end the interview without asking questions. Why? It shows you haven’t been actively listening to come up with considerations or you haven’t looked into the organization enough, or you haven’t thought deeply enough about why you’re looking for another role. So ask!
What are some other tips?
Body language is key. Make sure to greet people openly and if there are multiple people in the room – make sure you pay attention to them all.
Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification before answering a question. If you’re unsure about something, don’t feel embarrassed or bad about wanting to take a moment to seek out some more information, or jot down a note before you answer.
Maybe don’t do this throughout the interview, but you can certainly do it sporadically.
Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback and follow up after the interview. Maintain contact and add them to LinkedIn. You never know what role could open up even if this career opportunity doesn’t work out.
What’s the bottom line?
An interview is an exercise in building trust. The interviewer is trying to determine your skill competence as well as your behavioral competence. You need to be yourself and tell your story.