You’ve applied for dozens of jobs, sent your CV off to multiple companies and written so many different cover letters, you’ve lost count. But that’s just the easy part. One company has got back to you and you’re ecstatic – all that hard work and endless hours of job searching has paid off. But not quite. It’s a few days before your interview and nerves are just kicking in. What if you can’t answer the questions? What if you’re late to the interview? What if they don’t like you?
First of all, STOP PANICKING! Over-thinking and worrying will get you nowhere. Interview jitters are absolutely normal and sometimes companies like it if their interviewee is a little nervous, as it shows that they care about the job they’re applying for. However, shaking, stuttering and clumsiness are not okay. But don’t worry, as long as you’ve prepared as much as you can before the interview then you wont need to be extremely nervous. You should be excited to meet your dream company and thrilled that they’ve short-listed you for an interview. You’ve already won against a lot of other candidates. In this day and age, it’s so hard to get a job interview, let alone a job!
To make sure you do well in your interview, follow the tips below.
Before the interview:
There is absolutely no excuse for not preparing for your interview. You may have valid reasons but your potential employer isn’t going to care about those. If you haven’t done the research then there will be plenty of other candidates who have. So spend a good few hours writing notes about the company from their website and social media channels. Also type in the company name in Google and look up the current employees on LinkedIn – you might find out some extra information that the other candidates might not have spotted. Also, if you’re not 100% sure on what your job role entails then research that as well. Google can be your new best friend.
They’re not wrong when they say “practice makes perfect.” You may think you’re good on the spot and can blag your way through an interview, but why take the risk? There are so many websites out there which not only tell you the most common interview questions, they tell you the most common interview questions for specific job roles! There are a lot of websites which will give you example answers too. Try glassdoor.com for a range of interview questions and answers. Once you’ve written down the questions you’re most likely to get asked, practice saying your answers out loud. You don’t want to sound rehearsed so practice as many times as you need before it sounds natural.
Dress the part
For most job interviews, you’re expected to dress as smart as possible. This may not be the case for all interviews, but it’s definitely best to be over-dressed than under-dressed. You can’t go wrong with a button-up shirt and a black skirt or pair of trousers. Plan your outfit the night before so you don’t end up rushing and getting stressed about it on the day of the interview. First impressions are very important so make sure you are dressed to impress!
Test the distance
The last thing you want to do when you turn up to your interview is to turn up late. So if you can, travel to your interview destination the day before and see how long it takes for you to get there. Interviewers understand that things can be out of a person’s control, like traffic and car accidents, but it’s obviously better to try and avoid delays as much as possible. Give yourself lots of time to travel to the company and allow for any time delays e.g. roadworks. Google Maps is a great way of checking traffic before driving somewhere.
During the interview
Make a good first impression
So you’ve done your research, you’ve got your notes and you’ve arrived promptly at your interview. Smile at every employee you come into contact with and be as polite and friendly as you can. When you meet your interviewer(s), give a nice, firm handshake and introduce yourself confidently. Body language speaks a thousand words so make sure you’re not slouched at all and try not to cross your arms or legs in the interview.
Hopefully the questions they ask you will be similar to the ones you’ve prepared for. If they’re not, simply take your time to think of your answers (not too much time – seconds, not minutes) and don’t rush your response. You may want your interview to be over as quickly as possible but you only have a short amount of time to make a good impression to your potential employers. If you don’t know the answer to a question or you don’t quite understand, simply ask the interviewer to word the question differently or to explain it in more detail. This is better than simply saying “I don’t know.” Also try your best to frame your answers around the job role you are applying for. As nice as it is to talk about your hobbies, it might not be appropriate for the role you are interviewing for, so ensure that you relay your answers back to the skill set they are looking for.
This is very important. An interview isn’t just about finding out whether a candidate could be a good employee, it’s to find out whether the job role will be good for the candidate, i.e. YOU. Make sure you ask about the job responsibilities and duties, the hours of work and the working environment. It’s better to find out now whether the job is right for you, rather than finding out weeks down the line after you’ve signed a contract. If you’re unsure of what questions to ask, read my article 10 Ideal Questions To Ask At The End Of Every Job Interview.
After the interview
Leave a lasting impression
Shake the hand of the interviewer(s) and thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Hopefully they would have told you when they’ll be getting back to you but if they haven’t, don’t be ashamed to ask what the process is.
Write a follow-up email
A few hours after the interview, or the next morning, write an email thanking the interviewer(s) for their time and the opportunity. If you have any other questions you may have forgotten to ask in the interview, then include them in the email too. Writing a follow-up email is a great way to show the interviewer that you’re still very serious and keen about the job role and the company, and it might put you ahead of the other candidates who don’t follow up.
The hard part is now over! Now all you have to do now is wait. It depends on how many other candidates your company is interviewing, but hopefully you should hear back within a few days. Good luck.