Guest post by Soma Ghosh, founder of The Career Happiness Mentor
Interviews can be a daunting experience for some people. Especially if you haven’t had an interview in a long or generally get anxious about answering questions in a panel interview. They are as scary as you think if you take some time to really prepare and show up as the best version of you. In this post, we are looking at some key elements that can make you a truly successful job candidate and help you land that dream job sooner rather than later.
Before we get to the nitty gritty job hunting interview advice part let’s consider some logical things that some of you may not necessarily consider before going to any interview. These logical things can also impact how you appear or seem on the day the interview happens. This part is especially essential to those of you who get nervous and anxious before going to a job interview.
Have an early night – This may seem like a no brainer but going to bed at reasonable time before your job interview day is very important. Especially if your interview is in the morning. You want to be well rested and at your best on the actual interview day having an early night helps with this.
Avoid heavy meals – Depending on when your interview is it’s better to avoid a heavy lunch or breakfast so that you aren’t bloated or feel tired before an interview. Also, a light meal before an interview will help with interview nerves and stop you feeling uncomfortable.
Avoid Caffeine – If you suffer from interview nerves and naturally get anxious about things then avoid having caffeine before the interview. Caffeine is a laxative and only adds to your nervousness. So, avoid having tea or coffee instead opt for an herbal tea or a cold non-caffeine drink instead.
Meditation/ mindfulness breathing exercises – If you want to be calm before your interview try a quick audio or guided mediation 5-10 minutes before you travel so you are relaxed before the actual event. If you are not really interested in meditation you can do mindfulness or some quick breathing exercises to help you control any pre-interview nerves.
Let adrenaline be your best friend – This is a natural feeling and shows you really want the job so just take a few deep breaths. If you are nervous before and during your job interview don’t hide this. Your interviewers will most likely to expect some nerves anyway. Have a glass of water and just take your time to listen to the questions. If you are unsure about any questions simply ask them to repeat the question and take a minute or so before you answer.
Research – Before you go for any interview it is vital that you take some time to research the company you are going to potentially be working for.
Take some time to visit the company website and read any literature that has been sent to you about them or research them separately on Google. Examine what the company values are, who are their customers and clients and what’s important to them. Even if you are going for a very specific job role it’s a good idea to know if they have offices aboard and what other areas they cover.
In some cases, if the company is small just take some time to talk to someone who already works there and ask them a few questions. It’s important to do this because if you really want to work at company having some knowledge about what they do already shows passion, enthusiasm wiliness to learn, and avid interest to want to work for them. It’s also important to do this because you need to make sure the company is right for you. This research will also help you prepare any questions you may want to ask them at the end of your interview.
Prepare – Preparation is key to a successful interview.
If you are going for job that is competency based you must prepare. Take some time to look carefully at the job description given to you and look at the Essential requirements they are looking for. Then sketch out some questions they may ask you. If you are looking for a job in the IT or Finance field they may ask you more technical based questions so make sure you prepare for that also.
Preparation is vital because it helps you take some time to think about all the skills and knowledge you have acquired and why you would be great for the job role. Especially if you have had a career gap perhaps you been on maternity or been through redundancy etc. It’s important you don’t get stuck with any potential answers and demonstrate why you want the job role.
Examples of interview questions that could come up may include “What are your strengths and weaknesses? Why are you best person for the role?” etc.
There is no need to be nervous when you have expertise in your field already. Focus on your interview preparation for at least 2- 3 hours max before the interview takes place. Also prepare questions to ask your interviewers for the end of the interview so that you can show interest and enthusiasm for the job.
Practice – Once you have prepared your potential answers and questions it important to practice them.
As they say, “Practice makes perfect”. If you take some time to practice your interview questions out loud either to yourself or with someone else. You can start to feel more confident about what you are going to say in the interview and really show how much you want the job. Also by practicing your answers you can show real life examples that demonstrate your skills and qualities that make you an ideal candidate for them to employ you.
If you practice your potential answers this can help with interview nerves and practicing the answers can help with potential questions in the interview. Some of the questions may not be same as the ones you are asked but if you prepare this won’t come across. You can use some of your prepared answers for other questions. For example, if you prepared for “What skills and experience do you have that makes you best suited to the role? But they ask you “Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what skills and experience you have to offer”. You could use the same answer you have practiced for this.
Think about key questions you have been asked in previous interviews and prepare for these questions. Or read the job specification of the job you are going for and come up with industry based questions they might ask you.
Knowledge – Preparation and Practice are key part of demonstrating the knowledge you have to offer and knowing you can do the job you have applied for.
Come across as knowledgeable even if inside you may not feel it, try to project this through your words. If you give clear examples and demonstrate a genuine passion for your job and line of work this will come across. Show up as an expert in the work you have done and what further knowledge and skills you can bring to the company.
If you know the job like the back of your hand and can show confidence and an ability to be able to do the job and fit into the work environment you should not have any problem getting the job role.
Be yourself – Don’t be afraid to bring along who you are as a person.
It’s important to show your “true authentic self”. Explain why you want the job. How it’s going to change your life? Think of key words that people you know already describe you as. What skills can you bring that are unique such as “Creativity”, “Self-Starter” etc. If you come across as someone else in your interview this will be apparent and you can’t fully show up as who you are. Remember to be yourself and show how you would be a great fit for the company you want to work for.
Lastly, remember an interview is a conversation where you are in the “hot seat”. It’s your chance to show you have you a lot to offer. So, if you want that dream job you are yearning for following these key steps for the interview will be a steadfast way to help you get there.
Soma Ghosh is the founder of the London-based blog The Career Happiness Mentor. She previously worked in education helping young people with career advice and job hunting. She now runs her own career mentoring business where she helps ambitious women find their dream job and career and helps them understand what their idea of career happiness is.