Interviews are one of those experiences that we all need to go through multiple times in our lives. I have not been on many, but enough to create a list of 13 tips, tricks, advice, lessons and other things on the subject. Can we also take a minute to appreciate my attempt to be extremely creative above. The original picture is of myself after my latest interview, which was in fact rather pleasant.
On with the list.
- Dress to impress. This obviously depends on what type of job you are applying for. As a general rule, it is not okay to wear jeans, a t-shirt and/or trainers to your interview. I may however be guilty of this. It was a last minute interview for kitchen hand and I was already out and dressed when I was called in. I thought it would be better to be timely over running home to change.
- Make sure you will be comfortable. It is important to look your best, but do not compromise fashion choice for comfort. If you are tumbling through the corridors and holding on to your potential employer for dear life… Those 5 inch heels were a bad choice.
- Be yourself. It may sound cheesy, but this is one of the most important pieces of advice in life and specifically during your interview. Pretending to be something you are not will see you failing or ending up in a job which is not suited for you.
- Take pride in the fact you got the interview. The people or person sitting in front of you were impressed enough by your resume and possibly phone interview to meet with you. Do not take this for granted, let it inflate your ego a little.
- Be confident. You have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. This is your chance to prove your worth and as easy as it is to say, you do need to at least portray confidence.
- Arrive early. If like me you are hopeless at directions, make sure you know where you need to be. Scope it out before interview day and figure out how you will get there. Nobody wants to employ someone who is never on time.
- Have questions ready. If you truly want this job, you will know what you want to ask. If you just need this job then use google and reword the top recommendations.
- Take deep breathes and remember there are no wrong answers. The questions you are asked in an interview are not straight forward. The interviewer wants to know that you can and how you have dealt with certain situations in the past. Have examples ready, but do not over study. Find a list of common interview questions (roughly 30) and make sure you can answer them all. Practise answering a variety of questions, rather than robotically answering just a few. On the day words will just flow!
- Sell yourself. I strongly dislike this term. I could easily give you a list of things I am bad at and working to improve on. Naturally, I pick at my faults and rarely look into my strengths. News flash – you have to. If you cannot convince yourself you should be the one to get this job, no one else will believe it.
- Group interviews. The idea of these terrified me until I had one. I find them easier. The interviewers want to see how you interact with other people and how you would contribute within a group. I never want to be the first to introduce myself, but second is always best. Being the first to volunteer is great, but getting in second (in my opinion) is just as good. Make sure you speak up and get your points across during group exercises.
- Communication. Most roles require you to communicate. If you are in a group interview make sure you interact with other candidates and show the interviewers how well you communicate. Everyone is somewhat nervous about the interview and showing you can still communicate well during this time will give you points. Try to imagine you already know the interviewer or that you are just meeting them in a café. Be professional, but relaxed.
- Be thankful. I have personally never written a follow up thank you note, but in some situations apparently this can help. I believe they have already decided whether you are in the running or not as soon as you leave the building. However, do make sure you thank everyone before you leave the interview. Basically use all the manners your mamma and papa gave you.
- Be prepared. Research the company and position you are going for beforehand. This is the stuff you should have robotically memorized. Make sure you do not shove all this information they already know down their throat. You just need to show you want this job enough to know what you have applied for. Bring a pen and paper to take further notes on the position – this makes you look further prepared.
The most important thing to remember is that interviews never go as bad as you expect them to. We tend to over think the process, when in fact it is quite simple. Be yourself and sell the real you. It is easy to focus on our weaknesses, but this is your opportunity to find and prove your strengths to both the interviewers and yourself. Stay true to yourself and if it is meant to happen it will.
Also, take feedback well. The way you are expected to ‘sell yourself’ in an interview is not always a given. Some companies will appreciate you pointing out and accepting your weaknesses, while others will want you to prove you are super human. There is no failing and always something to learn from the interview experience. Interviewers have been in your seat before and are hopefully human.
Good luck on your next interview and thank you for reading.