Suck at job interviews? Here's 10 tips to help you ace it
I would like to think that I know a thing or three about job interviews, having worked within the recruitment and employment industry for four years, I know what it’s like to sit on the other side of the table, holding the power and asking the questions. Much more than that, since leaving that corporate world behind to chase the infamous thing they call a 'dream job'. The tables were quickly turned on me as I found myself sitting on the other side of the fence. The scary side. Along the way I have collected some interviews which I totally aced and some which sunk like the Titanic.
With this in mind, here's a little checklist of how to best prepare yourself prior to your interview.
1. Let strange phone numbers go straight to voicemail
Before being successful for a face-to-face meet-up, employers or their attached recruiters will call potential candidates for a phone interview. So if you are currently job searching and have been applying for jobs, it's important to ensure that your voicemail message is in tip-top shape. Once you've double checked this, let those strange phone numbers that aren't on your contact list go straight to your voicemail. Employers/recruiters always tend to leave a message including their details and what job it is they're calling you for. So rather than taking the phone call on the spot and being left to pretend that you know exactly which job out of the million that you've applied for that they're talking about, quickly use the info you've been given, hop online and back-track to remind yourself about that one particular role. Make some quick notes and call them right back.
2. Stalk the company/employer online
Back to front, upside down and in all the nooks and crannies. Spend as much time on it as you do on Facebook in a week. Follow all their links. Who are they connecting with? What are they talking about? What projects are they working on? If they have a blog, read the darn thing! Have a nosey at their Tweets, Facebook updates, Linkedin status – what are they saying on social media? Follow, like and add them. Write down five things that interested you. When you’re being interviewed, if it’s appropriate, talk about what you found out on their website.
3. Visualise the start, middle, and end
Think of all the things that may put you off your stride. A wimp handshake? A not so friendly smile? Stares from the panel? See them happening and then prepare yourself mentally of how you'll successfully cope and react. Then, see yourself after the interview, get a picture and feeling of how you're going to leave. Play it over and over again.
4. Have answers for those awkward questions in advance
What if they ask me about my gaps between jobs? Perhaps they'll ask me about the role that didn’t last? You need to be ready. If you have any anxiety over what you might be asked, you can prepare for it. Think of the questions you don’t want to be asked and prepare your answers. Play them in your head. Ensure your reply is honest, yet still would have no reflection on the role you are applying for.
5. Prepare questions of your own
Five of them at least. Not the salary or the holiday type ones. Take out the job description and see if you can find something in those to write cracking, awesome questions about. If not, think like an interviewer. What would you love to be asked about the job or role if you were interviewing?
6. Practice and pretend
Talk someone you know into doing a mock interview with you. If the job you're interviewing for is one that you badly want, this little practice will be worth it. If you're not comfortable with this, then practice in front of the mirror. Better yet, tape yourself and watch it back to see where you may be able to improve. A quick Google search of what type of questions you'll be asked for the particular role you're going for will be handy to use.
7. Take a trip to the interview location beforehand
How long will it take to get from your front door to theirs? What's the traffic like on the road around the time of your interview? How reliable and how long are the public transport options you have? These questions would be better off answered before your actual interview day. You don't want to find yourself cursing at red lights or slow moving strangers on the bus, simply because you were ill prepared. Get to know the route, time how long it took to get there, then addd 30 minutes on top of that. If everything goes smoothly on interview day and you find yourself arriving too early. Find something that's walking distance away, like a coffee shop and wait until you get closer to the time. Better early than late!
8. Bring your interviewer/s down a peg
They hate Mondays, like you. They are showing their ‘best’ self, like you. They have yuckie stuff going on in their life, like you. They have good days and bad days at work, like you. They eat, sleep, and have arguements with loved ones, like you. They have probably putan extra effort on what they are wearing on interview day, like you. They’re human, remember that.
9. You are what you wrote
You’ve earned the right to be there, please remember that. They want to meet you, think on that for a second. They already think that you might be suitable for the role, they came to this conclusion through your CV or Application Form. So you’re half way there. If you believe what you wrote, then you know that you only have to live up to what you said. Yes, you’ll probably have competition. And that’s good, right? If you were interviewing you want to have a choice, wouldn’t you?
10. If all else fails, listed to Aaliyah
Last but not least, remember that if you don't get the job in the end, it really isn't the end of the world. Yes, you may be heading towards broke-ville and are in desperate need of that paycheck. Yes, there's really only so much day time television one person can endure. Yes, you may be sick to death of spending hours scrolling through Seek. But trust me, that dream job will taste particularly good, especially after all the hurdles it took to get there. And if all else fails, remember Aaliyah's words of wisdom; "If at first you don't succeed. Dust yourself off and try again. You can dust it off and try again. Try again".
Originally published on Love & List.