We all know how stressful it can be to prepare for a job interview. As the day approaches, you think of all the things to remember, you get overwhelmed, the self-doubt kicks in, and it can be a slippery slope to complete self-sabotage before the meeting has even begun. This article is to help eliminate the anxiety that most people feel before and during a job interview. There's an underlying theme in each of these points which we'll highlight in the conclusion, so let's see if you can spot it before then!
Firstly, let's talk about preparation. It goes without saying that prep is essential for the meeting, thinking about what to wear, timings, and so on. But when stripped down to the essentials, preparation is really about knowing yourself inside and out. Unsure on how to start this? Start with the resume, that's the skeleton of your employment history, summed up. Now flesh it out, think of all the experiences in each role as well as outside of work that are worth including in responses to questions.
After this session of self-reflection is complete, you should have a strong sense of your strengths, weaknesses, highs, lows, as well as points in time for these. During the interview, it pays to know these things and being able, to be honest about areas for improvement is refreshing.
This ties nicely into the second tip, Showing potential. Not to be confused with showing off. Let's be real, when a company looks to hire and expand their workforce, it's to solve problems. Businesses don't want to hire people who are only going to make more problems to solve. This is why showing your potential for problem-solving (especially any specific problem discovered in the company research) is highly valuable.
The aim is to paint the interviewer a picture of how easily you can slot into the company with your experience and skills to help make things easier. Showing a history of issues you've solved in previous roles will reinforce this tremendously.
The third tip to stand out in an interview is to engage in conversation. An easy way to prep for this is to research key people of interest on LinkedIn to think of any talking points. This may seem like an obvious, beginner's tip but don't stop at conversing solely with the interviewer. If there's a receptionist, be sure to comment on something to spark a small conversation, after all, you're going to be there early on purpose!
Often interviewers will get the opinion of the receptionist, assistant, or any member of staff that sees or interacts with you, so it makes sense to distribute conversation to multiple members of staff rather than save it all for one person.
It's important to not go over the top with this, be sure to make any conversation authentic and meaningful.
Next up, it's wise to ask what the next steps are. This is important because the benefits are twofold. Firstly, it demonstrates seriousness about the role with a keen attitude, and it helps you manage the overall job search by forming a mental image of when a response is expected. Don't always expect an answer to this question though, it's possible no one knows. The added benefit of coming across as enthusiastic means it's worth asking in any case. You want to end on a confident note as that's the last thing that will be remembered about you. It also doesn't hurt to check in with the interviewer to stay on their radar.
So, did you spot the underlying theme throughout? If not, it's authenticity. Everyone needs to prepare for a job interview but few people are authentic with themselves when it takes place. So many people focus on saying when they think the interviewer wants to hear, but in reality, they need to know the real you in order to make an informed decision on whether you'll be a good fit for the company. Knowing yourself leads to higher confidence, being more at ease, clear-minded, and in a better position to make a lasting impression during and after the interview.