Panicking at the thought of your upcoming interview? The good news is that with some thoughtful preparation, you can feel comfortable and at ease in the interview room, discussing why you are the best fit for the role with confidence. Here are my 8 killer tips to help you nail the interview and get the job offer.
1. Practice makes perfect
Winging it is never worth it. Your interviewer will see right through it and your answers will suffer, so you should dedicate at least an hour to your preparation.
Get really familiar with examples from previous roles which demonstrate you have the key strengths and skills, and take time to practise your responses. A useful format is: What was the situation? How did you resolve it? What were the results? Ask a friend or family member to pose as an interviewer so you can get used to answering questions in real time.
2. Dress appropriately and be on time
There are very few (if any) excuses for arriving late for an interview - whether it’s face-to-face or virtual!. Do whatever you need to do to get there 10 to 15 minutes in advance, even if it involves setting several alarms or leaving extra early.
It is better to be overdressed than underdressed in most industries, so it’s wise to opt for business casual, even if your interviewer is wearing jeans and flip flops!
3. Think before you speak
A well thought out answer is always better than a rushed one. You don’t want to sit there in silence for five minutes, but it is acceptable to take several seconds to think before you speak.
Buy yourself time by repeating the interviewers' questions back to them. If you’re really stumped you can say: “What a great question. I’ve actually never been asked this before; let me just take a second or two to think about this.”
4. Speak clearly and calmly
Talking too fast can make you look rushed, flustered or anxious. Make a conscious effort to slow down, breathe steadily and speak calmly and clearly.
Relax, be yourself, and reply with confidence. Recap your experience and emphasise your best qualities and strongest skills. If asked to talk about a challenging situation, include what you learned that you could draw on in the future.
5. Actively listen
Good listening skills and the ability to stay focused are crucial. If you don’t listen well, you might miss the entire point of the question and as a result, your answer could fall totally flat.
Stay in the moment and listen to your interviewer’s question while mentally preparing your answer. Don’t let yourself zone out, even if it feels like the interviewer is endlessly going on.
6. Be positive and honest
When asked why you want to leave your current job, it's important not to be negative. Explain how this new job is a great fit for you. Express your interest in the role and the company, and passion for the work you do.
Everyone dreads the "what is your weakness?" question. Many managers will hire on potential, so be honest about how you are tackling any development areas or how you plan to gain the experience in the job.
7. Body language and being yourself
Your body language matters as much as your words, so walk in with a smile on your face, offer a firm handshake, and sit up tall. Smile and sit squarely in front of the camera if the interview is virtual, and aim for an uncluttered background..
Don't forget that interviewers may also be nervous. Go in feeling like an equal, and remember that this is a two-way discussion. Is this the right job and organisation for you? How does it align with your values? How can you fulfil your potential in this role?
8. Say thank you and ask for feedback
As soon as your interview concludes, thank your interviewer for their time, and always follow up with a thank-you email, restating your interest in the position.
If you are unsuccessful, make sure that you request feedback so you can get a clear idea of anything you might want to change next time around, especially if this position matches the kind of role you really want.
Talent for Change