1.12.19

5 tips for a successful job interview

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Pen and paper, headphones and glasses. Preparing for a job interview

Job interviews are one of those adult life things that no one really loves doing but you accept it’s something you have to get on with. I feel like that, a get it over and done with kinda gal but I was speaking with my friend about it the other day and she said that she absolutely hates job interviews. She finds the whole process so stressful and maybe that’s relatable for you as well. It’s a chance to remind yourself why you’re good at what you do and try to let others see that.  But that’s the main issue my friend has, it’s the ability to sell herself that she doesn’t like. Which is mad right? We should be our own biggest cheerleaders, cause no one else is going to do that for us.

But I get it, it is stressful having to sell yourself. Especially if you’re an introverted person who struggles with general chit chat, let alone a chat where you have to remember everything that makes you special! You don’t even really like saying anything about yourself, let alone blowing your own trumpet. It just doesn’t come naturally.

If you’ve got a job interview coming up that you’re feeling nervous about then the following tips are for you! They might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how much you can forget about when you get nervous.

Make sure you are knowledgable about the company you are applying with

I can’t stress enough how important it is to learn about the company and the job you are applying for beforehand. If you go into your interview and are unable to show that you know about the company values and their ethos then you’re showing the interviewers you didn’t care enough to find out. You might not be asked anything related to the company, but you’ll feel a hell of a lot more comfortable if they do! Don’t take this as a pass to delve into their entire life history, unless you love doing stuff like that. Just enough to feel comfortable throwing a few nuggets of info into your answers will impress.

Wear something that you feel confident & comfortable in

So not only are you nervous about the interview, suddenly you realise your dress is digging in, your tights are falling down and you’re starting to get a blister, uhh no thanks. Wear something that is comfortable. Obviously it goes without saying that you need to look employable so don’t go in your pjs, but again having the basic knowledge about the company you are applying with will give you a better idea of what sort of outfit you should wear. If you’re applying to a non-profit organisation these are generally very laid back jeans and t-shirt type places, so keep it smart casual. The same goes for a job in the city, please don’t turn up wearing a tracksuit. Not acceptable.

Know the audience that you’re selling yourself to and make sure your outfit is something that you feel physically comfortable in. The right outfit lets your future employers know that you’ll fit in with their company.

Take your time answering questions

Don’t feel that because your nervous you need to rush to get your answers out in order to make a good impression. If you start stuttering over words, unable to get your answers out, then you’re selling yourself short! A good interviewer will be able to tell when you’re nervous and should work to make you feel at ease in their company. If not then tell them. They’ll understand how you’re feeling as we’ve all been there. As an addition to that, if you don’t understand a question or feel you need more time to think about your answer say so. There’s nothing wrong with doing that and shows you want to give a considered answer. You usually only get an hour at the most to sell yourself so make sure you take the time to fully comprehend what’s being asked.

Take a pen & paper & have questions ready

Paper which says notes on top and a pen to take to a job interview.

I always like to take a pen and paper to an interview to make any notes I feel are important. I’ll also have about 3 or 4 prepared questions written on the paper. This is so helpful whether you get the job or not as you can look over your notes and see what you need to get more information on. Plus you won’t remember everything that was spoken about so if you have some notes written it’s much easier to reflect.

Now, you know that part at the end of the interview where they say ‘do you have any questions for us?’. Your mind goes totally blank as you were so fixated on getting the earlier questions answered and getting it over with. This is the point where those questions you prepared earlier come into play. Questions about the hours of work and the salary, what the day to day role would look like and the team structure always go down well. Obviously if you have more specific questions regarding the role you are applying for then ask those, this is your chance! Just make sure you have it down either on paper or fixed firmly in your head beforehand so that you don’t forget when the time comes.

BREATHE!!

You’ve done it, you’ve had your interview and you feel it went well. Hopefully you’ll be getting that call to offer you the job. Remember that interviews are not only a chance for the company to see whether they like you, but whether you feel like the company is a good fit for you. It’s always possible that when you go in you may not like the atmosphere in the office or feel that you won’t click with the people that work there and that’s ok. That’s what interviews are for, so we don’t go tumbling headfirst into things that aren’t always right for us. 

Hopefully you feel prepared and ready to attack your next job interview! If you want further support about different types of interviews the Prospects website is a brilliant source of information. 

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