You are in the market for a new job and you have been lucky enough to land your first interviews - congratulations! No matter where you are in your career, both a first-time employee and a seasoned veteran, become nervous and overwhelmed by interviews. The good news is that there are tips and strategies you can apply to perform your best in an interview!
This article was designed to effectively guide you through preparations prior to an interview, some tips to incorporate throughout your interview, and necessary steps post-interview. We’ll be discussing essential interview skills and practices that can assist any interviewee to present themselves in the best manner possible.
1. Research the company.
An interview may ask questions regarding the company’s industry, value proposition, or simply what your understanding of their business is. For this reason, you need to prepare yourself with research on the company and the industry that they work in.
Depending on the position you are applying for, your research may entail a deep dive into the competitive advantages and competitors of the company. Being armed with this information will also give you a sense of the job responsibilities and opportunities for growth.
2. Practice answers to common interview questions
Confidence is the best quality you can demonstrate during an interview. Being prepared allows you to instill confidence in your skills and understanding of your expertise. Do a quick search on common questions asked during an interview like “tell me a little about yourself” or “why are you interested in this role”. Create answers and rehearse them so that you are able to quickly communicate your value. To elevate your pitch and your comfort answering, practice with a family member or friend and ask for some feedback. The more you practice the more natural it will come out.
3. Prepare questions for your interviewers
Remember interviews are as much for employers as they are for you, as a potential employee.
Interviews are a two-way street. Come up with a couple of questions that will make employers think you are taking the interview seriously and that also help you make your decision.
Here is a list of questions you could ask to get an interviewer talking:
- Can you share some day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
- How do you measure success in this role?
- What kind of departments would I be working with regularly?
- What are some challenges you currently face in your role?
1. Dress accordingly
The first impression will be made as soon as eyes land on you. If you seem disheveled and with little maintenance, it will not be a good start to your interview. Put your best foot forward by dressing the part, you want to dress a step up than is acceptable in the office space. If you need clarification, reach out to a representative and ask for details. There’s no need for new clothes and fancy suits, showing up clean and tidy is most important.
2. Make a lasting impression in five minutes
studies show that interviewers decide on candidates in the first five minutes of the interview. The remainder of the interview is spent looking for confirmation of that impression. Treat everyone you meet with great respect, even before the interview officially starts, the more touchpoints, the better. Come into the interview with great energy and enthusiasm, and make sure to lead with a smile. Avoid negative talk about yourself and remember to focus on the positive.
3. Be mindful of your body language
As mentioned, confidence is key. Interviewers know that there are built-up nerves, but it is important to let your personality shine through the anxiousness. Your body language communicates more than certain words do so make sure to maintain eye contact, remain composed, speak clearly, and don’t fidget with your hands.
Also, make sure to leave on a positive note, as this will be their last impression. You can either demonstrate your appreciation for the opportunity at an interview or bring up something they may have mentioned being excited about earlier in the interview.
1. Send a follow-up email
After every interview, make sure to write a follow-up thanking them for their time. Customize your letter by referring specifically to something discussed in the interview; such as excitement regarding a task you found interesting. This personalization shows that you care about the opportunity and demonstrates a sense of responsibility. These letters should be sent within 24 hours of the interview.
2. Debrief from the interview
Once you have had a chance to decompress from the interview, you will want to reflect on what you could have done differently, and make adjustments for any future interviews. This can then be used as a guide to develop strategies catered to you and help navigate the process more efficiently. Don’t be too hard on yourself and try to remain objective. If you did not get offered the position, try to gain insights and improvements from the interviewer.
All of these tips are meant to make you feel empowered when entering an interview. The more control over the situation, the easier it will be to decide whether it’s the right fit for you. Make sure to do the prior research, enter the interview with confidence, and thank the interviewer in the follow-up. Work on these steps to the point where they become natural to you, and you will find it easier to be yourself in these circumstances. Now book that interview and start your new career!