The process of finding a job can feel overwhelming and even gruelling at times. You wear your best suit; answer their questions, and then you hold your breath waiting for the phone to ring. You know you’re the best candidate, but how do you tell them that? One of the best ways to ace an interview is to be prepared.
As members of the HR team, we have conducted our fair share of interviews over the years. We can confidently say that we have seen a variety of memorable interviews. (Not all of them are positive…) The most significant downfalls people seem to fall victim to are:
- Their inability to communicate clearly.
- They are unprepared.
- They are incredibly nervous.
Let’s start with nerves. If you’re out of practice, are an introvert or struggle with anxiety, it is easy to find yourself pale, clammy and lacking confidence as you sit across from a potential employer. While it’s natural to have jitters, allowing your nerves to get the best of you can cost you the job of your dreams. So, what’s the solution? Harvard Business Research shows that striking a pose could be your best option. Think less Madonna and more Superman. Standing with your hands on your hips and chest forward like our pals Batman or Wonder Woman for 2 minutes can completely alter our mindset. Research shows that your behaviours set the tone for your attitude. Standing tall, proud and confident will condition your brain to feel the same. So, make sure you practice your “power pose” and go nail that interview.
Feeling confident is one thing but being prepared is another. Taking the time to do your research is vital when walking into an interview. In most cases, they will ask you a variation of a core group of questions. Potential employers want to get to know you and your strengths during these meetings. They’re likely not going to have you solve complex equations (they might be it’s not typical). Most employers will stick to the usual line of questioning and ask about your experiences, strengths and goals. They may delve into your motivations and ask you what you know about their organization or why you want to work for them. This is one way of gauging your interest in the role. Invest some time into learning about the company, their values, and its history. This will give you a better understanding of who they are looking for and will help you to show why you are the perfect fit.
Download a free copy of RLB’s “Pre-Interview Self Assessment” here.
Undoubtedly, they will ask you to describe yourself or your work attributes at some point during an interview. Sure, you may think you know yourself… but when asked to describe your passions, experiences or (most dreaded) your weaknesses, it can be hard to come up with a concise answer on the spot. Taking time before an interview to complete a self-assessment will allow you to take stock of those strengths and weaknesses. Once you have taken a personal inventory, you can begin to look at how those attributes align with the company’s values. You can tailor your responses to show how well suited for the role you are.
Thinking of your possible responses in advance will also ensure that you can communicate your thoughts. Instead of having to think on your feet and fumbling through your answers, you will be able to explain yourself effectively. You’ll be more confident, convincing and sound competent. Just be sure not to rehearse too much. If your responses sound canned or robotic, you’ll lose the personality behind the message. You’ll seem disingenuous or cold. While you don’t want to seem unprepared, you don’t want to sound fake either.
Want to learn more about improving your interview skills? Check out the other articles in this interview series here.