Author: Erin Reilly
If you’re not a fan of job interviews, you’re not alone. While it’s often an essential part of the recruitment process, an interview can be nerve-wracking, uncomfortable and daunting.
Still, with a bit of foresight and planning, it’s easy to turn an uncomfortable fear into a promising opportunity.
- Do your research
From your perspective, the purpose of an interview is to impress your prospective boss. If you rock up knowing nothing about their business or the job you’re applying for, are they going to be impressed? Probably not.
At the very least, find out what they do and who their clients are (looking at their website is a good place to start). A quick Google search could unearth some articles that mention them (or some scandal they’ve been involved in). LinkedIn might tell you a bit about your potential boss too (just remember that, unless you’ve got a Premium LinkedIn account, they’ll be able to see if you’ve viewed their profile).
- Prep some answers
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? Tell us about a challenging situation you were in and how you solved it. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Prepping answers to common interview questions will help you look and sound confident in the interview room. Even if they don’t ask those specific questions, you’ll have some content to draw on for others.
- Know why you want this job
One question they’ll ask is why you want the job you’re applying for. Of all the questions to prep for, this is the most important. An employer won’t hire someone who’s not enthusiastic about the opportunity. Even if the job is a stepping stone to something bigger and better, be confident enough to say that in a way that doesn’t make them think you’re using them. “This admin job will help me fulfil my dream of becoming a legal secretary in five years’ time” will be more likely to help you land the job than, “I dunno, I just need to pay the bills” (even if the latter is also true).
- Plan your journey
What’s traffic going to be like? Would taking public transport be more straightforward? If so, where’s the nearest bus stop? And what bus do you need to catch to get there on time? Be organised the morning of your interview and you’ll arrive relaxed and in a good mental state. Don’t, and you’ll turn up hurried, stressed and sweaty.
- Clean up your act
Have a shower. Dress appropriately. Iron your shirt. Clean your shoes. Brush your hair. Put on deodorant … because first impressions count.
Think about your posture too. Sit tall and straight. Look people in the eye. Give a firm handshake. Smile. Because, let’s be frank: if you wear a crumpled shirt, slouch in your seat and mumble answers to the floor, you’re more likely to have to attend more interviews.