Job interviews are strange beasts. Ultimately, you have no idea what they are going to be like, what the interviewer is looking for, and once ended it’s difficult to tell how well you did.
Also, if you have terrible spatial awareness like me, you might have some trouble finding your way out of the building. No? Just me, then? Oh.
So how do you prepare? Prepping for an interview is mostly about mitigation. You are increasing the likelihood of looking like the smart, sassy, capable, confident person that you are and reducing the chances of looking like the uninformed, disorganised, clueless klutz that you are definitely not.
Here are some tips. Firstly, remember how to get out of the building….
Read the website. So easy. Go into that interview being knowledgeable and informed about the people you are going to be working for. At the very least find the ‘company vision’, memorise it, then be able to talk about it in your own words.
Prepare three questions. Have three questions memorised so that when they ask ‘do you have any questions for us?’ you’re not stuck looking at the ceiling going ‘errrrrrr…’
Role play. Grab a mate and make them ask you the really tough questions like:
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Tell me about a time when you had a problem and how you resolved it.
- Why do you want this job?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Dress smart but not outrageous or sexy. When in doubt go for conservative. You want them to concentrate on you rather than your Hawaiian shirt or thigh high boots.
First 30 seconds. The age old cliché about the first 30 seconds being the most important part of an interview is true. Go in there with a smile and a firm handshake and you’re half way there.
Shamelessly talk yourself up
Talk big. Interviewers aren’t interested in how humble you are, they just want to know if you can do the job. Confidently tell them you can and use examples.
Show potential. If you lack experience don’t talk about it, but instead show how much potential you have and what an asset you will be to the company.
Try not to touch yourself. Touching your face, hair, or indulging in any kind of scratching can make you look like an extra out of that film ‘Contagion’.
Flappy hands. Being demonstrative can be a good thing and show that you have passion and energy. Just try not to smash anything or accidently whack your interviewer in the face with your big flappy hands.
Messing up. If you mess up, keep your cool, take a deep breath and backtrack. You could even say ‘can I repeat that answer, but in a different way?’ Most people will understand and it will also help you to get the ‘cool under pressure’ box ticked.
Say thank you. Even if you don’t exactly feel like the interview went swimmingly, you can turn around an impression by dropping them a follow up ‘thank you for your time/ nice to meet you/ any more questions…?’ type email.
Get feedback. If you don’t get the job, one of the most important, but least pleasant things you can do is ask for feedback. It might be tough to hear but it is going to be invaluable for acing the next interview.