Preparing for Job Interviews
As with most things in life, the key to being comfortable in a job interview is preparation. Putting in the work beforehand to ensure that you fully understand the company, its ethos, and the job role you’re applying for will mean that you’re prepared for anything. Preparedness will be obvious to your interviewer and will also help you stay calm and collected, able to think through your replies, come up with questions as you go, and present your best self to your potential employer.
These steps can help you prepare for an interview:
- Read over the job description again. As you read, write down any questions that pop into your mind about how the job works and who you’ll be working with.
- Read over the covering letter and CV you submitted. Remember that there is something about those two documents that made them want to interview you, and take a moment to reflect on your own competence and skills. Then, look through your CV more critically, and think about what the interviewer might ask questions about. Are there gaps in your employment history? Job hopping? Irrelevant jobs, or multiple jobs held simultaneously? Begin to think about how you might address these if asked. Remember, we’re trying to be prepared here, not stressed.
- Research the company. Read up on company history, ethos, and structure. While you might not use these specific items in your interview, knowledge will make you more confident when answering questions about why you want the job.
- Visualise yourself in the role you’re applying for, and evaluate how you think you’ll perform in the role. This can help you preempt concerns from the interviewer, and address them before they’re even asked.
- Look through lists of common interview questions for the sector you’re applying for, and prepare your answers in advance. You might not get those exact questions, but the preparation will give you confidence. Practice your answers out loud; this will help you stay on track!
Here are some tips for your actual interview:Ground yourself as soon as you walk into the room. Greet each person in turn, and repeat their names when you’re introduced. As you’re being seated, quickly look around the room and identify something you can hear, something you can feel, something you can see, and something you can smell. This need not take much time, but it can help you to be present during your interview.
- It is ok to take a moment to think about your answers. Sometimes, adrenaline can make us babble a bit, and taking a moment to collect your thoughts and formulate an answer will help you communicate clearly.
- Nerves can also cause us to repeat ourselves, making the same point over and over again. It is better to say something clearly once, than to keep trying to drive a point home. If you find yourself repeating, just wrap it up
- Remember that your interviewers are people too. They probably aren’t enjoying the process of interviewing, so being friendly and open will help put everyone at ease.
- Be enthusiastic, be competent. There will be many applicants, and proving your enthusiasm for the role will go a long way toward making you stand out. If you can also prove that you’ve thought about the role and what will be required of you, you may just get the job you’re looking for.