Whether it’s your first time or you have faced them earlier, interviews are always difficult. You never know if you’ll be suddenly tongue-tied, or baffled with a question for which you have no answer. In today’s competitive job market, employers have high expectations, and it’s often difficult to even make it to the interview stage. This problem is common among young folks, who are recent graduates with little interview experience and grapple with the transition between the school and the professional world. Honing your interview skills will give you a leg up on the competition. With following tips prove to your future boss that you are worth their job.
1. Follow up
As soon as you get out of the room, jot down important things about the discussion. What all questions were asked, how you responded to each question, which were good, which could have been answered more effectively where you need to improve. This will help you prepare for the next time. You can send a thank you letter to your interviewer. Yes, interviewers expect it. This polite gesture will subtly remind them of you and reiterates your interest in the position. Express your thanks for the interview and time they took out for the meeting. Restate your interest in the opportunity. You can even answer the question you missed during the interview. This will give an edge over other candidates since most don’t follow this.
2. Demonstrate your skills
This is the opportunity where you have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else. Be tactful, courteous, sincere, polite and knowledgeable. Show energy, sense of humor and try to develop a rapport. Discuss your qualifications, experience and why you are the right candidate. Emphasize your ability to work well with others and your willingness to respect company policies. Make a point about what you can bring to the company. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job offered.
3. Body language
It is important what you say but it is equally important how to say it. Make an eye contact, the interviewer will pick upon your body language. May be you will feel that your heart is ready to leap out of your chest, but don’t sound nervous anywhere, specially with your body gestures. Don’t stare blankly, instead use slight nods and hands to explain your answer. Don’t ramble or fidget or stammer, answer calmly and fluently. Rather than slouching back in your chair with folded arms or looking at the floor, lean forward when making a point. Use your hands while answering to explain. Avoid nail-biting or shaking your leg. All this show that you are nervous and confused. Don’t rub or touch your nose, it indicates you’re not honest with your answers. Make sure you don’t deliver any wrong non-verbal cue.
4. You responses count
Pay attention and listen carefully to the interviewer. Answer the questions, honestly. Answer clearly and completely with enough information. Do not use slang or incomplete sentences. If you are confronted with a difficult question, try to appear calm and confident. Ask them to repeat the question if necessary. Take a moment to think before you respond instantly. Collect and organize your ideas rather than baffling and regretting later. If you are unsure about any answer, ask them for hints instead of answering it wrong. You can ask questions about job and the company. You have to sound positive and self-assured.
5. First impressions make a difference
First appearances are extremely significant in interviews. It is in the initial few seconds that the interviewer subconsciously decides whether they like you or not or whether you are fit to be a part of their team or not. So make sure you ditch that gum and put your phone to silent before entering the interview room. Make sure to have a confident smile on your face. Greet the interviewer. Offer a firm handshake. Be friendly but not too casual. You are here for a professional meeting and not to make friends. Maintain a balance between professionalism and modesty.
6. Get on time
Since you have made a trial run to the location there can’t be much problem in finding the place. Just make sure you are on time, 10 or 15 minutes early even. No excuses, it can create a really bad impression. This is employer’s first meeting with you. Don’t brand yourself as tardy or unprofessional by showing up late. If getting late is unavoidable, call ahead and let them know about it.
7. Check your dress
Appropriate clothing gives the impression that you are professional, and serious about the job. Dress in neat, clean and ironed clothes with shoes polished. Make up, if worn, should be moderate. Make sure whatever you are wearing is comfortable, so that you can focus entirely on the interview and interviewer. Plan ahead so that you don’t have to scramble at the last minute. Have a backup outfit ready, just in case. Also, gather all the things you will need to take along with you like an extra copy of resume, references, a portfolio, pen, a writing pad etc.
Stop rehearsing at least 12 hours before your interview since over-practicing can make you nervous. It’s a big day and you need to sound fresh and alert. For that have a sound sleep at night. Put away all the negative thoughts. You’ve worked hard for your interview, and now set your alarm and doz off. Remember, not all the job interviews turn into job. If it happens to you, you can learn from the experience, improve your skills and concentrate more for the next time rather than thinking it to be a failure.
The interview hour can be stressful or pleasant, depending upon how you prepared for it. Practice can definitely help you ace the interview. It will give you confidence and a sense of ease when you will face the interviewer. Re-read your CV again and again, list your skills, talents and experiences as well as hobbies that relate to this opportunity. Practice your responses to some typical questions so that you do not get dumbfounded when an unexpected question is put forward. Have interview sessions in front of the mirror or record in audio-video tapes and try to eliminate the errors in conversational skills or body language. Rehearse for your interview in a variety of styles like conversational or graphic. If you are unsure of the location of interview take out time to visit the place so that you can be sure of the address.
Learn as much as you can about the particular opportunity and organization, and other key information from maximum possible sources. The interviewer will expect you to know about the work and place you are joining. This knowledge will highlight your interest in the position. You can begin with this work even before applying. Also identify your skills and accomplishments and come up with a few personal anecdotes that illustrate your passion of those abilities. Know your weaknesses; this is a favorite question with most interviewers. Don’t appear so weak that no one will hire you. Be self-reflective and candid in describing areas for growth and how these negatives can sometimes be positive.