Interviews are the best way to get to know a company, and for them to get to know you. For many people, they are a nerve-wracking experience -- and this can get in the way of presenting yourself at your best. Here are some tips to help you ace any interview.
Before you apply: Before you even apply for jobs, know yourself. That means being comfortable in your own skin, confident in your abilities and accomplishments, and ready to admit what you don’t know. No candidate is perfect for any job, so have faith in yourself and your ability to be an asset to the company from Day One.
If you are an introvert, and interviews cause you active discomfort, just recognize that and let it go. It’s OK. You are being hired for your ability to do the job, not your ability to interview well. Having said that, the tips below may help you feel more prepared and confident, allowing you to relax and do your best.
Before the interview: After you apply, but before the interview, research as much as you can about the company, its markets, history, management, competitors, financial reports and growth strategy. This boosts your confidence that you understand their needs, have ‘done your homework’ and are invested in helping them achieve their goals. It also gives you lots of information to determine if you are a fit for the company. Practise answering some standard interview questions, and have some answers and talking points prepared.
When you are selected for interview, find out who your interviewer is and research that person. See if you have a connection with them (prior experience, common interests, shared network) that you can mention during the interview. You want the interviewer to visualize you doing the job and to eliminate any doubts in their mind that you can succeed. You also should visualize yourself at the company, already working there, to put yourself in a positive mindframe.
In Person: If the interview is in person, dress appropriately, show up early and bring all the materials you may need to present, including copies of your resume. Bring your own water, snacks etc. so that you are not hungry or thirsty. During the interview, have only a glass of water on the table (no food!)
Video: If it is virtual, dress appropriately, ensure your environment is tidy and lighting is good, and that your camera and microphone work properly. Have a backup plan in case anything breaks, and make sure you have a phone number to call if your Wi-Fi goes down.
Phone: If you can, use a landline to avoid possible audio problems. Use a headset if it is more comfortable and allows you to hear better -- as long as there are no audio glitches. Consider standing and moving a little to put more energy into your delivery. Make sure your tone is varied, your energy is high and smile as you speak -- your interviewer can hear your smile in your tone.
In the next post, I will talk about the interview itself and how to make the most of this opportunity to appear at your best!