For most job applicants, interviews are the most daunting obstacle to overcome when trying to land a new position.
People struggle to effectively answer the questions they are asked for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s a lack of preparation that leaves an applicant tongue-tied. Sometimes it is a poor understanding of the employer’s expectations. Often, people fail interviews just because of nerves. But while there are a thousand ways you can slip up, fortunately, interviewing is like any other skill: the more you work at it, the better you’ll be.
Along the way to becoming a great interviewee, you’ll first need to master your nerves. Here are four ideas of how you can do it:
- Deep Breaths: Simply taking the time to focus on your breath will have a tremendous impact on how you present yourself. So while commuting to the interview, focus on breathing deeply and in a slow, gradual rhythm. You’ll inevitably relax while providing your brain with the flow of oxygen it needs to keep you on your A-game.
- Strike a Power Pose: Before leaving your house, lift your arms above your head and spread your legs wide. Take up as much space as you can. Yell. It may sound weird, but power posing is a proven way to flood your body with endorphins and give yourself the psychological confidence that you are powerful and capable.
- Think Positive: Don’t let yourself get caught up in a negative thought cycle. Stay positive and upbeat. You’ve got this!
- Prepare: Research the company. Know the position. Practice framing your past professional history in a way that makes you seem like a perfect fit for the job. Practice mock questions with a friend. The more prepared you are, the fewer unknowns you’ll have to worry about.
The Benefits Of Interview Prep
Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Here’s why:
- The Psychological Edge: If you know you’re prepared, you’ll inevitably be more confident, and that confidence will show in everything you say and do.
- Perspective: Knowing what the employer is looking for will give you the perspective you need to present yourself as the invaluable resource the company needs.
- Salary: If you know what others in the position have made and what the industry standard is for that type of job, you’ll be in a great position to optimise earnings when the question of money comes up.
- Expertise: A well-prepared candidate makes him- or herself look like an expert in the business.
Interview Day – Common Questions (And How To Answer Them)
- Tell me about yourself
- The interviewer is looking for: A concise and focused answer that demonstrates you are professional and a good fit for the job.
- How you should answer: With the information that is relevant. Tell a bit about your work history, professional goals, and reasons for wanting the job.
- What is your greatest strength/weakness?
- The interviewer is looking for: An indication that you have a realistic perspective about your working habits.
- How you should answer: In a way that highlights the fact that you have thought through your strengths and weaknesses and knew where you excel and what you need to improve in.
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- The interviewer is looking for: An applicant who has goals, a stable lifestyle, and a plan for the future.
- How you should answer: With a levelheaded and ambitious goal, which is relevant to the job at hand and focused on your professional abilities.
- Tell us about a time you worked well with a team
- The interviewer is looking for: Demonstrated experience and a history of solid teamwork.
- How you should answer: With an anecdote that makes you sound competent and able to problem solve while working with a team in challenging situations.
- Why should we hire you?
- The interviewer is looking for: Confidence and demonstrated skill. Something to differentiate you from the other applicants.
- How you should answer: By explaining what you will bring to the table, which should involve reliability, specific skills, ambition, and eagerness to learn.
- What previous job experience do you bring?
- The interviewer is looking for: More insight into what you’ve included on your resume.
- How you should answer: By discussing the skills you’ve learned at previous jobs that will help you excel in this one.
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- The interviewer is looking for: A reasonable explanation, without warning signs that you were a source of conflict.
- How you should answer: By talking about professional ambitions and your desire to have a sense of meaning and progress in your work.
- Do you have any questions?
- The interviewer is looking for: Someone who has given thought to this job they are applying for.
- How you should answer: By asking penetrating questions about the mechanics of the work, the future of the company, and the potential for your growth.
With each question, you should think through the implications of why the interviewer would be asking it. By doing so, you’ll gain insight into how you can best demonstrate the abilities and personality the employer is looking for.
The interview is the time to present yourself in the best possible light, so don’t be afraid to champion your skills and talents. And remember, preparation makes all the difference. Best of luck on the job hunt.
Looking to recruit via an agency?
Read our report “The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Recruitment Partner”
Not yet benefiting from flexible workers?
Read our guide “Why Using Temporary Workers Will Grow Your Organisation”