It’s your interview day. You have passed the application stage of the process and now is your chance to impress the employer face to face.
Your palms are sweaty; you are fidgeting around, feeling slightly jittery at what is to come… But do not fear! Everyone experiences pre interview nerves and I implore you, do not under any circumstances, let this jeopardize your chances.
To help reduce your interview nerves, here are my top five tips - that will not only help you relax, but give you more chance of acing your interview and landing your dream job!
1. Preparation is key
Swotting up before your interview is essential. I cannot stress enough how important this is. Knowing your stuff gives off an air of confidence and highlights to the interviewer that you are interested in working for them.
Every interviewer will appreciate, as well as expect you to have taken the time to look into their company, what they do and what their core visions and values are. Preparing all of this beforehand will emphasise your eagerness and enthusiasm for the job, which can only be a positive.
Researching typical interview questions is also something you should do to prepare, as it adds another piece to your arsenal, when questions such as “where do you see yourself in five years?” and “what are your weaknesses?” arise. The key here is balance as you do not want to come across as robotic in your answers, so try not to over prepare these and be as natural as you can with your responses.
2. Dress to impress
First impressions are not just important, they are key! Research suggests that the average person forms their opinion of you within 7 seconds. Sounds harsh but unfortunately, the research backs it up. Alongside the handshakes and introductions, one of the first things people notice is what you are wearing.
Most employers expect you to be smartly dressed and looking professional for an interview, but this is not always the case. Some companies, especially start-ups, usually prefer casual wear. Then there are the companies who have a relaxed dress code but who would expect someone coming in for an interview to be dressed in business wear.
The advice here is to check. Being aware of this prior to interview would certainly be beneficial so that you don’t stand out like a sore thumb or be remembered for the wrong reasons. Even if the dress code is more relaxed, picking out any old outfit from your wardrobe is not the answer.
Finally as much as looking the part is definitely a must, do make sure that what you are wearing is comfortable. Focusing on an itchy price tag you’ve forgotten to remove, rather than the question you’re being asked, is additional stress you don’t need during your job interview!
3. Arrive on time and relax!
Arriving on time (and yes that means early) and finding ways to relax beforehand is vital to bringing your best version of you to the interview.
Being late to your interview will only reflect badly and potentially ruin your chances of being hired. So, arrive fifteen minutes early to allow yourself time to sit back with a glass of water, take in your surroundings and compose yourself. If you don’t know exactly where the building is, maybe go the day before so that you don’t have the panic of trying to search for it on the day.
Listening to relaxing music on your way to the interview, or talking to a family member or friend, are also great ways to flatten pre interview nerves and both have helped me in the past.
4. Be yourself
As clichéd as it sounds, staying true to yourself and being honest is essential in an interview.
The company wants the right person for the job, and you want the right company fit. If you find yourself in a position where you are told that you’re not the right person, please don’t let it get you down. Changing yourself to suit the interviewer and company is never a good idea. Being yourself actually means that you come across far more natural, and ultimately you are not being false. There is no point wasting your time or the interviewer’s time. Whatever is meant to be, is meant to be and all you can do is your best and be yourself.
5. Ask questions
At the end of every interview, you will usually be asked whether you “have any questions?” and shuffling your feet or looking down at the floor while mumbling “no“, is not the response the interviewer is looking for.
Asking questions about the company and job, will once again highlight your enthusiasm and also gives you a final chance to leave your interviewer feeling impressed. Think about what will be important to you if you decide to work for this company. Career progression? The social side of the business? Also, do some research and maybe ask about specific things that you’ve seen and read. Some advice here would be to have a few questions lined up, to avoid both the awkward “no” and repeating anything that has already been discussed during the interview.
Good questions will also help make up your mind on the pros and cons of the company - which could ultimately be the deciding factor if you are offered the job!
To bring this blog to a close, we all know that interviews are a necessary evil that cause us to feel a mixture of nerves and excitement. If you have an upcoming interview try to remain positive and prepare in the best way possible to give yourself the biggest chance at progressing.
There are hundreds of tips for interviews and thousands of blogs have been written on each of these points but in my experience, these are the five tips that have proved most valuable to me. I hope that you find them equally useful and that they help you to get ready to smash your next interview!