Job interviews are freaking stressful, especially if you haven’t been to one in a while. I started looking for a new job last year and it suffices to say my first interview in, ooh about 10 years, was the stuff of nightmares. My guts were gurgling and my mouth was dry. I was drowning in my own sweat, physically shaking, and best of all, my mind was blank.
Totally nailed that one.
Once I had that god-awful first interview out of the way, things started to look up. I changed my mindset and trained myself how to give bloody good interview.
Want to kick arse at your next job interview? Here’s how.
Own your nerves
It’s only natural to feel as nervous as all hell before an interview. It’s a sign that the interview is a big deal to you. Instead of letting your nerves spiral out of control, harness that energy and use the adrenalin pumping through your veins to your advantage. Focus on the task at hand, put your game face on, and sell yourself because you’re awesome, damnit.
Research like a mofo
Get to know the company you’re interviewing for. Check out their website, LinkedIn and social media accounts to familiarise yourself with the key players and ensure you understand the focus of the business. Make note of any big projects or events they’ve worked on and key initiatives they are driving. A little research can go a long way in impressing your potential new employer.
Print out the job description and selection criteria, if they have one, and highlight key words. Put together a number of meaty examples that showcase your skill set and achievements. You want examples that are relevant to the job you’re interviewing for and are big on successful outcomes. Think about how you can help drive their business toward success.
Nail your elevator pitch
Interviewers love to kick off an interview with the seemingly harmless, ‘Tell us about yourself’. What interviewers are looking for here is a snapshot of your work history, skills, why you’re looking for a new job, and why you’re the right choice for them. Trust me, they don’t want to hear that you’re a mum of two girls, addicted to bagels with cream cheese, and can’t wait to pour yourself a glass of vino at the end of the day. They want to know you’ve got what it takes for the job. Your pitch should be relevant to the job you’re interviewing for, showcase your skill set, highlight your personality and be no more than 30 seconds.
Don’t make shit up
There is a chance you’ll be asked a question you don’t understand or a question you don’t have an answer to. Ask the interviewer to elaborate or rephrase the question. If you don’t have experience in what they are asking, draw on similar work experience or a skill that you believe can be transferred to the job. Whatever you do, don’t stretch the truth or make stuff up. Basing an interview on lies and fabrication has huge potential to blow up in your face.
Interview the interviewer
Finding a new job is a big deal. You need to interview your potential new employer as much as they need to interview you. Be clear on the work involved, what would be expected of you in a typical day, how the position fits in with the rest of the company and what the culture of the organisation is like. You need to ensure the company is the right fit for you. The best time to do this is at the end of the interview when they ask if you have any questions.
Practice makes perfect
An interview is not something you want to rock up to on the day and hope for the best. Practice your elevator pitch and relevant work examples in front of the mirror or with a friend. Encourage your friend to ask questions to get you used to the interview process and to help you practice your answers. Practice using the key words you highlighted in the job description and weave in terminology you may have picked up from your research.
Dress the part
Regardless of the job you’re interviewing for, you should dress more formally than you usually would and cater your attire to the company you’re interviewing for. If you work in the corporate world, a suit is appropriate. If you work in the creative industries, something that shows off your personality is acceptable. I like to choose outfits that look professional, have a bit of colour, showcase my personality, and most importantly, I feel comfortable in. Bonus tip: Don’t wear an outfit that will highlight your massive sweaty patches.
Be on time
The last thing you want is to be rushing through the interview door late and full of excuses. Meanwhile, being super early is not looked upon fondly either. I like to arrive 15-20 mins early and find myself a quiet place to breathe, collect my thoughts, and visualise nailing the interview before calmly announcing my arrival no more than five minutes before the interview start.
Showcase your sparkling personality
Body language can make or break an interview. Give a firm handshake, maintain good eye contact and listen intently to what your potential new boss is saying. Be friendly, positive, invested in the interview, wear a smile, and be yourself.
Cheers to you!
Interviews can be mentally and emotionally draining. You’re bound to feel wiped out and a little low afterwards thanks to the rollercoaster of emotions you’ve just experienced. Reward yourself with a sweet treat, stiff drink or buy yourself something new. Interviews are stressful, but you kicked arse. Time to give yourself a pat on the back!