It’s finally happened. You got the call! You’ve applied for so many jobs, and someone finally called you to set up an interview. You’re ecstatic and you can’t wait!
But then you realise you’re not out of the woods yet. You still have to make it through the job interview. And if that’s not enough to turn your blood cold, we don’t know what is.
No matter how many times you’ve gone through a job interview, the fear never goes away. You never know what your interviewer will be like or what kind of questions he or she will ask. Then there are also the endless possibilities of what you should wear or how many questions should you ask at the end. It’s almost enough to make you want to cancel the interview altogether.
Don’t despair just yet! With the right frame of mind and a little knowhow, you can wow your interviewers and land an offer. Read on to know how you can give yourself the best chance in a job interview.
Research the company and interviewer
The interview process really starts the minute you agree to the interview in the first place. Before even walking into the office, you should already have researched the company and your interviewer, if you have his or her name.
Knowing a little bit more about the company and your potential department shows an interviewer that you’re eager to be a part of this particular company. This isn’t just any old job to you. You have a genuine interest in the company and you want to help make it a success.
It also wouldn’t hurt to get to know your interviewer a little better. Try to find them on LinkedIn or search for their name on Google. You’ll be able to ask more focused questions about their line of work and what they expect from you as an employee.
Don’t be late
Whatever you do, do not be late for your interview under any circumstances. The worst way to start off an interview is to walk in late. It doesn’t matter how much traffic there was or what the weather is like, be on time.
Even if the job is close to your home or in a well-known area, leave an extra ten or twenty minutes earlier. Remember that you can always stop off for a cup of coffee on the way if you find yourself very early for the interview. There’s nothing wrong with being ten, even fifteen, minutes early for an interview, but there is a huge penalty for being even a minute late, which will ruin your best chance in a job interview.
Keep in mind that your interviewer is judging you the minute you step into the office. Score easy points by being early.
Put on your Sunday best
Image from Howcast’s How to tie a Windsor Knot
This judgment extends to what you’re wearing. No matter what type of job you’re applying for, it’s always best to dress in a business professional manner. You can enjoy the perks of a casual work environment later, but you have to get the job first.
For women, it’s best to wear slacks or a skirt that comes down to the knees. Either option looks professional. If the pants are long and drag on the floor, be sure to wear a heel. They don’t have to be too tall; a small kitten heel will suffice. Wear a simple blouse and an optional blazer. Don’t wear anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your jewellery modest. You don’t want to have your own jiggling theme music when you walk.
For men, it’s best to stick to slacks, a button up shirt and a tie. Make sure your shoes are polished and your shirt is ironed. Keep your colours simple. Save your most colourful ties for another day.
Tie information into your interview
Now that you’ve discovered a little bit more about the company, it’s time to show how your skill set can better help the company grow and overcome its problems. This is a great way to discuss the work you’ve already done and how you can use your knowledge in the position you’re interviewing for.
Be sure to quantify your accomplishments to give a better depiction of how your work affected your current or previous company. Rather than saying, “I designed the company’s website” say “I designed a website that maintained a 12 percent bounce rate and had over 500 visitors daily.” This shows you understand your field’s jargon and your work gets results.
Don’t badmouth other employers
Almost all interviewers will probably ask you why you want to leave your current employer, and when they do, do not launch into a tirade on how much you hate your current job. Even if it’s the worst in the world, do not say anything negative about them. Find ways to better communicate your unhappiness with the company.
Some interviewers will even ask what you didn’t like about your boss. Don’t do it; you’ll destroy your best chances for a job interview. Instead, talk about the things you learned from him or her and what other things you’d like to learn at a new company.
Turn your negatives into positive statements. If you didn’t care for your previous position, talk about how you want more challenging work. If you felt stagnant, express how you’d like more room to grow. If you didn’t like how your boss was always late to meetings, discuss how you learned the importance of punctuality from him or her.
Once you make it through the interview, there are just two steps left: ask what should be expected next and then shake hands. Always ask what will happen next so you have a general idea of a timeline to hear back from them. They might have several more candidates to interview or they might want to make a decision quickly. Ask what to expect within the next few weeks so you’re not waiting anxiously every day for a phone call.
Finally, remember to give the interviewer a firm handshake before you leave. People can tell a lot about you by just your handshake. Look them in the eye, be firm and you’ll give yourself the best chance in a job interview.
IMG 006 Handshake
Job interviews can be a really nerve-wracking experience, but if you go in prepared, then you have nothing to worry about. Remember to go through each of these steps and ensure that you’ve covered all your bases. But most importantly, remain calm. Be the best version of yourself and you’re bound to make a good impression. Good luck!
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