Nailing a job interview is no mean feat, especially when your dream job could be on the line. In between knowing what to wear and having answers for tricky questions prepared, the experience is packed full of anxiety-inducing moments and stress.
To try and help you feel a ~little~ more at home in the interview room, Deepa Somasundari, career expert and Director of Client Success at global job site Indeed, has rounded up her top five tips for getting you through the interview process. And from being well prepped to giving the right impression, your next career move might be a single application away.
PRACTISE STRONG ANSWERS
You’re more than likely already aware of the most common interview questions, so make sure you’re prepared to answer them. This might mean writing out a few examples before the interview or even having examples at the forefront of your mind. “Candidates should prepare for interview favourites such as ‘Tell me about yourself’, and ‘Why are you interested in this role with our company?’,” the career expert advises.
“Being ready for these will mean you’ll quickly communicate who you are and what value you will bring to the company and the role. Be ready to give examples of times when you’ve used a specific skill and try to tell STAR stories: ones that have a clear Situation, Task, Action and Result.”
PREPARE SMART QUESTIONS
More often than not, an employer will finish a job interview by asking the potential new recruit if they have anything they’d like to know. Deepa advises using this opportunity to show how clued up you are. “When preparing for a job interview, job seekers are inclined to focus on answering questions, but equal thought should also be given to the ones you want to ask your prospective employer. Interviews are a two-way street and employers expect you to ask questions: they want to know that you’re thinking seriously about what it would be like to work there.
THINK ABOUT FIRST IMPRESSIONS
“First impressions count and one key piece of advice is to dress for the job you want,” the career advisor continues. Think about the type of dress code the office you’re entering might have, and make sure you choose your outfit accordingly. “If you’re speaking to a recruiter before the interview, you can ask them for advice.
“And don’t forget the little things – shine your shoes, make sure your nails are clean and tidy, and check your clothes for holes, stains etc. Also, don’t be late! Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 10–15 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a trial run and if you’re taking the bus, train or Underground, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures.”
We’ve all heard about ‘power-posing’, but your body language is actually super important. Like Deepa says, “Non-verbal communication can be just as important as anything you say in the interview. Use confident, accessible body language. Smile frequently. Make eye contact when you’re speaking. Sit or stand tall with your shoulders back.”
“It’s normal to feel nervous before the interview, so take deep breaths and exhale slowly – this will help you manage any feelings of anxiety and will encourage greater self-confidence. Treat every single person you encounter with respect. This includes reception staff, security personnel and facilities teams Treat everyone you don’t know as though they’re the hiring manager. Even if they aren’t, your potential employer might ask for their feedback.”
BE AUTHENTIC, CONCISE AND UPBEAT
Keep in mind that the person interviewing you obviously saw something in your CV that made them want to meet you, so try to help this shine through. “Respond truthfully to the questions you’re asked and tie your answers back to your skills and accomplishments by providing examples of solutions and results you’ve achieved,” Indeed’s career expert adds. As well as taking steps to calm your nerves before the interview begins, you should also give yourself ample time to answer every question during your face to face chat.
“If you cannot immediately think of an appropriate answer, say ‘Let me think of the best example to share,’ pause as you collect your thoughts and then respond. Keep your answers short and focused, making sure that you actually answer the question you’ve been asked. Your time with each interviewer is limited so be mindful of rambling.”
This article first appeared in Cosmopolitan.UK