Mike had finally landed an interview with his dream employer for his dream job. Something was wrong though, he was terrible at interviews and he was currently terrified. He got tongue-tied, sweaty, and became shifty and all fidgety.
Mike, an IT guru, was exemplary at what he does. But he was stuck at a job he felt he had outgrown long ago because he could barely make it past the interview stages. He is not alone; a lot of people are terrified of interviews for many different reasons.
Even if you don’t get the job, it is important that you have a self-satisfactory interview and do not beat yourself up afterward. You need to leave the interview room, knowing you gave it your best, and your best was your absolute best.
1. Research on the Company.
Nothing is more irritating to an interviewer than an interviewee who knows nothing about the company. Google is your friend, scratch that, Google is your best friend. When you get that call, get online, read and internalize everything you possibly can on the organization.
Do not skim through, read widely and intensively. This is not just for the interview, but also for you to know what to expect if you get this job.
2. Practice your Answers
Interviews are pretty standard all over the world and their objective is the same. They want to get to know you better, to know the depth of your knowledge of the job, and most important, what are you going to bring to the table if they hire you. Knowing this, then you are armed with all you need to proceed.
Even the best of speeches by all great men of this world have been practiced. As such, you must practice how to answer the anticipated questions. “Tell me about yourself” has to be the most common. Most people tend to ramble on this one but you must know to keep your answer short and precise. Your greatest achievements? Surely that one is easy but you cannot spend thirty minutes talking about it.
Practice, practice, practice, in front of a mirror, in front of a baby (they don’t judge), or with a willing muse.
3. Be Punctual
You cannot afford to be late for an interview. Arrive at least 20 minutes earlier. Take time to get comfortable in your surroundings, catch your breath if you went up the stairs. If you get sweaty, this is the time to air out your wet patch. If the interviewer requested that you present your certificates, take this time to put them out, organize them and keep them within reach.
If under totally unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances you are running late, call the organization and inform them of the development. Whatever you do, do not be late.
4. Dress Well and Smell Nice
Dressing well does not mean buying expensive flashy clothes. It simply means you need to be presentable. Wear clean, neat, and well-ironed clothes. Polish your shoes and ensure they are not muddy or dusty.
Wear a deodorant to absorb that nervous sweat trying to break through. The way we are dressed plays a huge part in dictating how high our confidence levels will go.
5. Active Listening
When you get into that interview room, you must remind yourself to listen and understand the questions, not just listen to respond. If you do not listen to understand, you will respond to questions that have not been asked.
Listen well, do not interrupt, and ensure you understand what the interviewer expects. it is okay to ask the interviewer to repeat or rephrase the question as you did not understand.
6. Look Confident.
Looking confident and being confident are two different things. If you do not feel confident, muster your acting skills and act like you are!
If the interviewers want to shake hands, make sure yours is firm. If your voice is threatening to start being shaky, clear your throat, take a minute, and start again. Try to take it easy, and remind yourself that this is an interview you prepared well for and just this thought, will make it easier.
7. Have a Parting Shot
When all is said and done, make sure you have a parting shot. Thank the interviewers, let them know you are glad for the opportunity they presented you and that you look forward to further engagement.
Do not beg them to give you the job because you have a lot of problems and this job is your salvation. Completely unacceptable!
8. Get an Interview Coach
Notice how this came as the last tip? Because an interview coach will take you through the above steps more intensively. Not everyone can afford an interview coach, however, if you can, that is your best bet. The Coach will walk you through the preparations, train you on how to conduct yourself through the interview, and even have evaluation sessions to see where you may have gone wrong.
You Got This!
Interviews are a nerve-wracking affair for sure. Whether for entry-level or C-suite positions. Even the greatest of Actors and Speakers get butterflies when they get on stage. So remember that what you feel is normal.
Remind yourself, when you get into that interview room, that no one except knows how you feel. Put on your brave face and let them see your confidence (Real or Imagined) and get ready to ace your interview!
You Got This!