Job interviews are considered one of the most nerve-racking experiences in our lives, yet to successfully bag yourself a new job, they are a necessary evil. It’s understandable to feel the pressure before your big day, especially if it’s a job that will better your career and lifestyle. If it’s your first interview or if you haven’t had one in a while, you may be wondering where to begin and how to prepare.
Fear not, we have the top 25 tips and tricks listed below to help you to ace your interview:
Before the Interview
1. Have an Early Night
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be up all night tossing and turning due to the nerves and excitement of your interview, but do try to overcome this and have an early night; the last thing you want is to be yawning in front of the panel. Have a bath, drink some chamomile tea and use lavender pillow spray to help you relax and fall asleep easily.
2. Set up Google Alerts for Company Updates
When preparing for the job, you can set up google alerts for the company that you are interviewing for to receive their latest news and information. You will be e-mailed once something relevant is posted which means that you can save time scrolling through the internet and more time practicing your answers.
3. Prepare for Tough Questions
Nine times out of 10 you will probably be thrown a curve-ball-question that you weren’t ready for. However smooth the interview was going, this dreaded question can ruin the past 20 or so minutes. Make sure you prepare for potential questions ranging from ‘If you were an animal, what would you be?’ to ‘how many basketballs could you fit on a bus?’ These types of questions can, of course, vary depending on the employer, but having a knockout answer will leave a lasting impression.
4. Have a Social Media Scrub up
With employers checking your social media profiles before an interview, it’s important to clean-up your accounts to ensure you’re reflecting your personality in the best light and not making critical mistakes that could cost you the job.
5. Plan Your Journey in Advance
Your 3G has lost connection, you’re driving to an unknown location, the clock is ticking, and you know you’re going to be late. This is the nightmare situation to start off the interview on a bad foot. Ensure you’ve google mapped the location and know where you are going ahead of time, heck, if you have the time why not drive there a few days before so you definitely know where you are going?
6. Formulate Your Own Questions
It comes to the end of your interview, you think it’s gone smoothly, you get asked if you have any questions and you say “no, I think you’ve covered them all!” You have literally just set yourself up to fail! Make sure you have questions to ask at the end of your interview to show how interested you are in the position and the company. A good idea would be to tailor a few questions to the company itself and not ask generic ones they would have heard from other candidates.
7. Be Interview Outfit Ready
Dressing for interview success is an important part to interview preparation that many job seekers overlook. When you look the part, you feel the part right? Being comfortable in your outfit is also vital, you don’t want to wear a new pair of heels that are too high or hurt, as you will be focusing on the pain instead of your interviewer. You could even have a few outfits dedicated to interviews, so if a last minute one pops up, you won’t be stressing about what to wear.
8. Make Sure You Eat
When we are nervous we tend to forget about food and end up skipping a meal. Don’t do this, if you really can’t stomach anything, eat a granola bar or a piece of toast. Eating will line your stomach and take away the ‘sick feeling’; it will also save you the embarrassment of a ‘tummy-rumble’ in the middle of your interview.
9. Be on Time
This means arrive 10 minutes early; it will show great time-management skills. If you arrive too early, you will appear too keen and will also rudely interrupt your interviewer’s busy schedule. After all, you were given a specific time for a reason.
10. Stay Calm
Try to keep your nerves at bay; “most people can overcome interview nerves by adopting some simple breathing and mindfulness techniques before and during the interview,” adds Lisa LaRue, career coach at CareerWorx, at the Guardian. “One tip is to go into a quiet room and practice slow, deep breathing before you go in. When we are anxious, blood flows away from our brains, so this technique will bring the oxygen back to your head and help you to think clearly.”
During the Interview
11. Ask for Water
Your mouth is so dry, you’ve not been asked if you would like a drink and all you can think about is how nice a sip of water would be right now. Don’t be shy to ask for some, it will show that you’re confident enough to ask for what you want and you’ll be thankful later on when you need a minute to pause and form your answer.
12. Show Your Smile
Smiling throughout your interview is so important; it shows that you’re friendly, down-to-earth, and sociable and will also release endorphins that will relax your mind. Leave the resting-bitch-face at home!
13. Explain CV Gaps
If you have gaps in your CV, make sure you explain the reason for this. You may have decided to go traveling or something personal may have happened. Just ensure that the gaps are reasonable and logical – you don’t want to appear lazy.
14. Remain Neutral
During the interview, you may find that you know people from the same network. If a bad comment is made, ensure that you remain impartial. The same goes for questions about your previous employer – never paint them in a bad light.
15. Be Body Aware
Being relaxed and holding good posture is important when you are being interviewed. If you practice sitting with your back straight and your shoulders rolled back, throughout time this will come naturally to you and you won’t need to stress about the way that you’re sat.
16. Use STAR Techniques
To define the STAR technique; explain the situation you were in, the task in front of you, the action you took and the result of your action. This will help you formulate killer answers in order for you to smash the interview and land the job.
17. Remain Respectful
This is a no brainer but is an important point that many forget. Be respectful to anyone you encounter from the minute you walk through the doors, from the cleaner, the receptionist through to the CEO of the company. Everyone should be treated as equal.
18. Show Your Enthusiasm
Don’t let the nerves hide how enthusiastic you really are about the job. You are not ‘too cool’ to show your true feelings either. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point so express how much you really want it.
19. If You Don’t Feel It, Fake It!
Some of us just really suck at interviews; even with the breathing techniques and the intense preparation, the nerves will still find a way of creeping through. So what do you do? Fake it until you make it! Many artists have an alter-ego to become more confident on stage, so channel your inner Beyoncé and become Sasha Fierce!
20. Keep Eye-Contact
Failing to make eye-contact will show that you’re trying to hide something, or that you lack confidence and feel you are beneath the employers and not worthy of the job. Either way, it’s not great, so lift your head up high and keep eye contact with all the people in the room.
21. Always Acknowledge
Naturally, the interviewer will probably be doing a large amount of the talking. This doesn’t mean that you should sit back and stare blankly into space. Remain engaged and give a little nod here and there to show that you’re acknowledging them. Obviously, don’t make it creepy, you don’t want to be looking like one of those nodding dogs.
22. End Positively
When the interview is approaching an end try to conclude on a positive note. This could be as simple as saying something like, “I look forward to hearing from you”, or “it was a pleasure to meet you”.
After the Interview
23. Follow up
If you feel things went well, don’t be afraid to send an email the following day thanking them for their time. This may boost your chances at getting the job.
24. Had a Sh**ty Interview? Don’t Dwell On It
If you feel the interview went extremely bad, don’t beat yourself up about it. Ask for some feedback and use those tips to improve on the next one. Don’t forget that everything happens for a reason, and practice only makes perfect!
25. Be Honest
It’s best to turn a job down if you don’t think you’re a right fit for the job. You can explain this to the interviewer; they will respect your honesty and may keep you on record for potential future opportunities that may be a better fit for you.
Doing your homework on the company and brushing up on your communication skills to answer questions confidently is key. Taking the time to polish up on your interview skills will help you leave a good impression and get hired.
Do you have any other interview tips that have helped you in your job search? Join the conversation down below and share your thoughts and experiences with us!