Few people actively enjoy interviews, but nerves can make an already stressful situation seem much worse. In this post, we’ll look at how you can get a handle on your nerves so that you can ease through any interview. This post will give you advice on how to conduct yourself offline; you can take a look at some of our other posts if you’re looking for some advice on how to use the internet to improve your job prospects.
Preparation is key
You’ll feel more in control of the situation if you’ve adequately prepared for your interview. First up, read the full details about the job you’re applying for and find out as much as possible about the company, looking at its website and social media accounts. This will help you gauge the company’s tone of voice and general ethos, as well as telling you about any important news that you could drop into the interview, such as a big product launch.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what you’ll be asked, it’s also worth spending some time before the interview brainstorming answers to likely questions. Read through your CV and think about how you’d answer questions arising from it, such as any gaps in your employment history or any big changes of career direction. Pay particular attention to tricky questions such as “what would you say is your biggest weakness?” These can be used to your advantage if you answer them the right way; for example, your “biggest weakness” could be your perfectionism.
Explore the company’s website and social media accounts
Anticipate questions (and come up with suitable answers) based on your CV
Also, prepare answers to the most common interview questions (10 common interview questions)
Have some questions of your own ready
“Do you have any questions for us?” is a question many people dread at interview, but it’s another one you can be prepared for. The first interview probably isn’t the time to discuss the salary; instead, it’s your chance to make a good impression with an intelligent question. Don’t ask questions to which you could easily have found the answer online; instead, ask something more probing, such as “What are the company’s plans for the next five years?” If you really can’t think of anything, the phrase to remember is “I think you’ve answered all my questions, thank you.”
Prepare some questions of your own
The night before
The night before your interview, research the location, working out how you’ll get there, what time you’ll need to leave and what route you’ll take. Bear in mind that the roads will be busier at rush hour, and check the traffic news for any on-going roadworks that may affect your route. If you’re driving, you’ll also need to consider where you’re going to park, as this will save you the stress of having to drive around looking for a parking space just before your interview. Save the company’s number in your phone so that you can contact them if the worst happens and you’re delayed.
Make sure you have your smart interview clothes ready, laying them out the night before so that you can see whether anything needs washing or ironing. When choosing your outfit take some time to consider the industry and job role you’re applying for and what clothes the employers will be wearing. If in doubt go for the smarter option, it’s always better to be overdressed when making a first impression. Keeping busy will help keep nerves at bay, so once you have everything ready, try to take your mind off the interview for a while by watching television or meeting up with friends (just be sure to keep a clear head by sticking to soft drinks!).
Be fully prepared the night before
The day of your interview
Whether there are any likely disruptions or not, it’s best to allow more time than you need to get to your interview; nothing increases the nerves quite like worrying that you’ll be late. But don’t allow too much time, or you’ll end up sitting around feeling even more nervous. If you do get there early, try to find a nearby cafe where you can relax with a coffee rather than showing up at the company’s offices a long time before you’re due to be interviewed, as a recommendation arriving 15 minutes early is about reasonable.
Aim to arrive a little early, 10-15 mins is ideal
During the interview
You’ve done all the preparation you can, so you should be feeling more in control as you enter the interview room. As you sit down to talk with your interviewers, it’s worth bearing in mind that although it may not feel it at the time, the interview isn’t just about a potential employer scrutinising you. It’s also your chance to figure out whether this is a company you’d feel comfortable working for. Remember that the interviewers are people too; it sounds improbable, but the interviewer might even be nervous, just like you. Ultimately, they want to know that you’re someone they would enjoy working with, so don’t be afraid to let some of your own personality and enthusiasms shine through. Staying true to yourself will help you relax, and you never know – you might even end up enjoying the interview. Good luck!
A job interview is a two-way street, is the company right for you?
Looking for some more tips? Why not take a look at some top ways to stand out from the crowd in our recent post here.