Job interviews can be pretty nerve-racking. The pressure of what could be a life-changing event is often enough to make the mind go blank when you need it most. For many people, overthinking is the main problem – they try to memorise too much, and then trip up when attempting to recall something.
In truth, you don’t need to remember absolutely everything. Come with a detailed script in your mind and you’ll end up sounding robotic. Instead, just focus on having the following points covered.
Body language matters
Don’t get caught up in assuming it’s only what you say that matters – your body language is equally important. The way you carry yourself, from the moment you first make contact until you say your farewells, will give away a lot about your attitude. This doesn’t just cover the job in hand but also your life and work in general.
Think about your facial expressions: greet with a smile and avoid looking like you’ve zoned out. Your prospective employer will want to see that you’re engaged in the conversation.
Put simply, present yourself as open and interested – with no folded arms!
There’s no getting away from the fact that you’re there to be judged, but that doesn’t mean the interview should be a one-way thing. You’re free to ask any relevant questions, so treat this as a chance to learn about the company, its people and the role in question.
Questions show enthusiasm too, so it’s a good chance to demonstrate your interest in the role. What’s more, they give you the chance to breathe and compose yourself, while hopefully relaxing everyone in the room. You should go in armed with a few things to ask, but the odd ad-lib question won’t hurt either.
Mind your manners
People often tell you to be yourself in interviews but there’s a difference between the ‘in the pub on a Saturday night’ yourself and the professional you that works hard to get the job done. It’s crucial that you’re the latter in an interview.
It should go without saying that swearing is not appropriate, even if the interviewer is relaxed enough to use questionable language themselves. Chewing gum is also out of the question, even if it does help you relax. Be polite to everyone you meet, from the security guard and receptionist on the way in to the people you chat to in the interview itself.
Use specific examples
There will be times when you’re asked how you’d deal with something, or how you’d approach a certain situation. Answer it truthfully, but use specific examples too.
If you’re questioned about how you’d handle a difficult customer, for example, think back to real-life examples and how you coped. The employer will want to know that you are capable of performing in this position, and while skills can be learned, there’s no substitute for relevant experience.
The main thing to remember throughout all of this is that you’ve made it this far. The fact that you were invited for an interview means you’ve passed the main test – you’re qualified. The next step is to ensure they make the right decision again!