For many job seekers, the interview is the most stressful part of the application process. There’s a lot of pressure to demonstrate your abilities, relevance, and cultural fit during one 60-minute meeting as your first (and perhaps only) face-to-face encounter with the prospective employer.
The key to doing well in an interview – as well as reducing pre-interview anxiety – is to prepare thoroughly ahead of time. There are many things you may do before your interview that will help you succeed once the interview begins.
Here are 10 strategies for putting yourself in the best possible position for a successful interview.
1.Research the company
When you go into an interview, you should have done your research. That implies looking up the company, knowing their products or services, understanding the industry in which they operate, and obtaining a feel for the difficulties they face.
One of the most common blunders in an interview is to ask a question for which the response is readily available on the internet. Read up on everything you can about the companies website and social media channels for a few hours.
Look up the company’s most recent annual report on Google and any other relevant information. The objective is to get inside your interview having a good understanding of the company’s issues and priorities. This allows you to sell yourself as someone who can assist the employer solve particular problem areas.
2. Examine the job description
Surprisingly, many interviewees have a flawed understanding of the position and expectations. Take some time to go over the original job description. Make notes on it and bring them with you to your interview (This is a fantastic visual signal to the hiring manager!). Make sure you understand exactly what’s expected of you and what duties
Look for other positions that have the same job title to help you better understand what employers are looking for in these roles. While you must adapt your answers to the employer’s stated job description, having a clear understanding of all duties in your field demonstrates professionalism.
3. Find out more about your interviewer (or interviewers) and get to know him or her better
When you schedule your interview time, always make sure to ask who you will be meeting with. Try to get the full name and title of all your interviewers. This is important information because it allows you to do targeted research before you walk into the office.
Find out everything you can about the people you’ll meet at the interview, including their LinkedIn and social media profiles. Understand what their job descriptions entail and how they relate to the company. Look for shared connections, both mutual acquaintances and similar interests. These are excellent touch-points for building a personal connection with your interviewers.
Don’t be concerned if the interviewer notices you’ve looked at their LinkedIn profile. This is a great thing because it demonstrates that you’re thorough.
4. Know your history
“Tell me about yourself” is the opening question in many interviews. This is a seemingly open-ended question that many job seekers struggle with. However, it does not have to be so difficult.
The interviewer isn’t interested in hearing about your entire life history or a recitation of every job you’ve held. What they want is an explanation of why you’re interested in the position at hand. The goal of this mission is to build a succinct narrative about your career that culminates with your application for this specific role.
What are the threads that connect your professional life? What problems and challenges do you enjoy resolving? And, more importantly, how does your passion for these things align with the job on the table?
This is a pre-written line that you can use as a prompt before the interview. Make a powerful, honest narrative and rehearse your sales pitch ahead of time. This will get you off on the right foot during your conversation.
5. Prepare responses for the most basic questions
Here are a few more questions you might be asked in an interview:
What are your natural talents and skills? Tell me about your most significant weakness? Why are you searching for a new job? Because you can anticipate hearing such questions, you may prepare ahead of time. Take the time to consider each question thoroughly, including how your abilities and problem-solving skills might be incorporated into each response.
6. Print copies of your CV
This is a tried-and-true bit of advice that has withstood the test of time, even in today’s digital world. Make sure you bring hard copies of your CV to the interview — at least one for everyone who will be there with you.
You may never need the print-outs, but having them on hand is helpful. When you pull a crisp version of your resume from your bag, you’ll appear more polished and prepared than if you don’t have a copy.
7. Choose your clothing the night before
In fact, how many times have you walked into a store in search of an outfit only to discover that it isn’t the right one? And an hour later, your wardrobe is empty and your floor is littered with discarded clothing alternatives. It happens to everyone, and it’s aggravating.
Take the time to plan your interview outfit the night before. You’ll avoid stressing about what to wear on the day of your interview when you’ve already got other things on your mind.
Always err on the side of being more formal when picking an outfit. Unless you’re told otherwise, you should wear business attire.
Some people advocate following the company dress code while wearing your interview clothing. I believe this is a mistake… until you’re hired, save the hoodie and jeans for later.
8. Get a good night’s sleep and you’ll be well-rested for the day ahead
Yes, I know… almost everyone requires more sleep. We all have busy lives and want to get more time in the day. Plus, all of the best TV shows are on until 11 p.m! However, going to bed early and getting full eight-plus hours of sleep can help you perform better the next day.
Even mild sleep deprivation has been shown to have a negative impact on memory, critical reasoning, attention spans, and a variety of other functions. This is not the condition you want to be in for an interview, especially if you need to be at your best.
9. Find out where you need to go
Call the company at least a day before your interview and ask about parking, building access, or any other logistical concern. You don’t want to be late for your interview because you didn’t know where to park.
Also, be sure you’ve planned your route to the interview, whether you’ll be driving or taking public transportation. You’re going to have pre-interview anxiety; don’t make it worse by getting lost on your way to the meeting. Remember, Google Maps will assist you!
10. Allow plenty of time for yourself
Always double-check that you have more time than required to get to your appointment. When calculating how long it will take you to get to your interview, assume the worst-case scenario when possible to be on time.
However, don’t arrive at your interview more than five minutes early. (Your interviewer is likely a busy professional, so don’t add to their stress by rushing their schedule). If you’re far ahead of schedule, take a break at a coffee shop or window shopping to kill some time.
11. Stay Calm
It’s a lot easier said than done. Keep in mind that you’ve already crossed a significant threshold in the job search process and take comfort in this:
The employer already believes you have the technical abilities required for the position You’re one of a small group of people who’ve been selected to have an interview Walking into your interview, you should feel self-assured, empowered, and cautiously optimistic. The company discovered something special in your application out of a large stack of CVs—something it liked about you. Simply state that you are the best candidate for the position and you’re ready to go. All of your homework pays off during this stage, as it puts you in a fantastic position to achieve this objective.
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