Interviews make you nervous? It's understandable that people worry about their interviews, since the greater their desire to get the job, the more likely they are to worry.
The uncertainty will only make you more nervous if you haven't conducted many interviews in the past. As long as you follow best practices, you'll increase your confidence, feel more comfortable answering questions, and dramatically increase your chances of having a successful job interview. Below are tips on how to succeed next time (and every time).
Prior to the interview
1. Make sure you do your research
You should always research a company before attending an interview. How disappointing would it be to get hired and then discover that you don't even want to work there? Research the company and the job, and perform a proper search for current news about the company.
The most important things to look for include what are the latest projects being carried out by the employer, how financially stable the employer is, and how well they treat their employees.
2. Create stories to tell
An important part of a successful job interview is your ability to relate your experience and skills to the job description, and a great way to do that is to tell stories that will illustrate your experiences and successes with those skills.
By telling a story, you engage your audience, show off your personality, and demonstrate good communication skills.
Based on the job description and your research, you should know which skills the employer values most for the position.
3. Write down your questions
When you ask a lot of questions, you show that you are interested in the job, and it may also be an indication that you have done your homework and should be taken seriously. Create a list of questions you would like answered. You may refer to your list during the interview.
4. Always dress for success
To have a successful job interview, start by dressing appropriately. Your skills and experience should speak for themselves. Ideally, you should dress one level above what you're applying for. Look the part and wear clothes that fit you well and are clean - it's not all about buying expensive suits and ensembles.
You can ask the recruiter for more information about the dress code of the company where you are interviewing if you are not sure what it is. When you have an idea of what you want, make sure you pick something that makes you feel comfortable.
Plan what you will wear the night before so that you don't have to rush at the last minute. Put your clothes in order and make sure everything is neatly pressed.
5. Always bring what you need
If you have emailed your resume to the company, bring a paper copy so that you and your interviewer can refer to it. You should also keep a paper copy of your references list just in case your references are requested. Your resume should never include these. Instead, put them on a separate sheet of paper.
Show your skills and achievements in a work portfolio. Making a list will boost your confidence and recall skills, while having it in the interview will increase your credibility and make it easier for you to tell your story.
6. Maintain the schedule
A good rule of thumb to follow when attending a job interview is to arrive at least 10-15 minutes early. Coming early could confuse your interviewer and cause awkward tension. The reverse is also true; arriving late creates a bad first impression and can doom your chances the moment you arrive.
Make arrangements for the interview by asking for directions. Call ahead if you encounter a problem. In addition to showing respect for the recruiter's time, it will give them an opportunity to reschedule, if needed.
On the day of the interview
1. Always remain positive
The key to a successful job interview is a positive conversation. Whether a negative experience was legitimate or not, employers do not want to listen to a long list of excuses or bad feelings.
You should not be defensive if asked about a poor grade, a sudden job change, or a weakness in your background. You should instead emphasise the things you learned from the experience rather than the facts (briefly). Do not insult anyone at all. That is just bad manners.
2. Observe your body language
In an interview, what you don't say can be just as important as what you say. The key to your success in the interview is to understand and maximise your non-verbals, such as smiles, eye contact, handshakes, posture, and so on.
3. Be honest
Your experiences and skills should be described clearly and enthusiastically. Feel good about your accomplishments. Be professional while showing your personality. Recruiters tend to hire candidates they like. Take a few seconds to breathe when necessary. Sometimes, you will need a few seconds to formulate an answer, and that's fine.
4. Make the deal official
When the interview ends and both sides have finished asking questions, thank your interviewers for their time, and ask them when you can expect to hear from them next and how to follow up (which you should note right away).