Your dream job lies between your submission of the perfect resume and nailing the career interview. Most job candidates break out into cold sweats at the mere thought of the meeting. What will they ask me? How am I going to respond? How do I impress them?
Your first job interview need not be a cold-sweating, nerve-wracking, voice-trembling experience. We can’t carry you from the entrance to the office to nail the meeting. But, we can send you a virtual walkthrough of the possible things that’ll happen and how to prepare for them.
So, sit down, strap on your seatbelt, and let’s head on to the winning tips to get ready for your first job interview!
Before the Interview
If you can confidently crack a hilarious joke in front of your peers, you can be confident in a job interview. If you’re unconvinced you can nail it, follow these best practices before the interview — to avoid sounding and looking silly.
1. Study about the company
Channel your researching skills and dig into the company’s:
- Vision and Mission statements
- Core Values
- Annual reports or stakeholder reports
- Press releases
- Blog articles
- Social media posts
- Reviews on job posting sites like Glassdoor
Note on what their audience feels about the company in general. Delve on their work ethics or workplace culture. Ask yourself, “Is this the type of company I want to work for?”
You can also learn what the company’s response has been since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their immediate action speaks volumes about their care for their employees’ welfare. It also displays the company’s ethical values.
If you found out that the company took the best actions during the pandemic outbreak, then let’s move on over. If they didn’t, you might want to rethink your options.
2. Learn and prepare everything you’ll need
Start studying for the interview like it’s your final exam. Gather a list of the top questions they may ask and the ones you want to ask them. Asking them questions will prove that you’re engaged in the conversation.
Additionally, learn your educational background by heart to understand your resume on a deeper level. It’s also best to check that the qualifications they’re looking for match your professional skills.
A day before the interview, ready a few copies of your:
- Reference list
- Legal documents
- Professional photos (ID Pictures in 1×1 and 2×2)
- Work portfolio
- Pen and paper
3. Get enough rest
When you’re well-rested before the interview, you will find yourself more alert and focused. If you do, you’ll eventually feel fresh and prepared for the meeting. It also boosts your confidence.
4. Wear professional attire
Plan your attire during the interview, as this helps make a good impression. You want the panel to focus on your skills and not on your clothes.
5. Avoid coffee and alcohol
A few sips of coffee are acceptable, especially if you’re the type to get one daily. But too much caffeine and alcohol will make you too chatty, and yes, that isn’t good. Coffee also contributes to sweaty palm syndrome, so lay off them before the career meeting.
6. Clear your head
Take as much time as you can to ease your mind. Gather your thoughts and work with your body, not against it.
7. Stroll around the block
Doing a light exercise can help quell any qualms you’re feeling or about to feel. It also helps steer your focus away from the interview, at least for a few minutes.
8. Release any anxious energies
If walking didn’t help, try simple exercises that can soothe the nerves.
For the voice, you can stick your tongue out and try to sing the whole Humpty Dumpty nursery song out loud. This exercise can help open the back of the throat, making you sound confident. If your body is shaking, you can try squeezing your buttocks. When you do, it’ll be impossible to have shaky hands.
9. Arrive early, but don’t go inside
Getting 10-15 minutes ahead of time is crucial as it shows that you’re ready and eager to crush that interview. Meanwhile, arriving earlier than that sends a signal that you require them to stop or race what they’re doing to accommodate you.
10. Stop rehearsing
Practicing your answers is one of the cornerstones of preparation. But you don’t want to sound rehearsed during the interview. Appear as if you learn the answers by heart, even if you don’t.
11. Do a power pose
Find any private space — a corner where no one’s in or in a bathroom stall — and do your favorite superhero’s pose.
Power posing is a famous life hack that could help lessen anxiousness. Assuming a power pose influences your mind and body to feel positive, thus increasing your confidence. One popular power pose includes the Wonder Woman Pose.
During the Interview
The dreaded moment has come. Remember what you practiced, and then do these steps to nail that interview:
1. Listen proactively
When nerves envelop our whole system, we find it hard to listen to what the recruiter says. If we can’t hear what they’re saying, we will fail to provide the best response. So breathe in and out; you’ll do good.
2. Mirror body language
Adapting the recruiter’s body language can establish coherence between you and him/her. It also builds a better connection.
3. Focus on one
An interview with a recruiter is stressful enough, but facing a panel of interviewers can be too much to handle.
Take baby steps here. First, direct your eyes on one person in the group. Tell yourself that it’s only you and him/her. If you’ve slowly adjusted, switch your focus to the others. Make sure to look all of them in the eyes to create a connection and not offend a future boss when you get in.
4. Don’t use unfamiliar words
The worst way to fail the interview is by spurring out words you barely understand. If you are doubtful about what the word means, leave it out. Your goal of making you look fancy and intelligent may make you seem foolish.
5. Be yourself, but not too honest
Show your authentic side — qualities you know they’ll like — but don’t be too transparent. Recruiters are not interested in your whole life story or your deepest, darkest secrets.
6. Remember, it’s just a conversation
If you can talk about your day to random strangers in the mall or drivers in a taxi, you’ll do as well during the interview. Remind yourself that you’re not battling against a giant ant. Grab on to the thought that you are simply talking about your career journey to another person.
5. Use the STAR method
Recruiters ask behavioral questions like “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a moment where you…” to get a glimpse of your work ethics. If you encounter these questions, answer them using the STAR Method:
- Situation – recount the situation
- Task – describe the tasks involved and your role in the situation
- Action – explain the steps you took to solve the challenge
- Result – share what happened as a result
6. Make the interviewer feel important
Nothing bores an interviewer than a candidate who does not make her mark on the interview. To be remarkable, make sure to throw in some questions. Also, research on the interviewer as much as you studied the company information by heart. They will feel flattered when you say a little inside knowledge about them. Doing this can, in turn, help them remember you.
7. NEVER speak poorly about your former company
Talking bad about a former colleague or a terrible company culture may not do you good. It will make recruiters think you’re the type to badmouth people, which doesn’t leave a good impression. Companies want to hire problem solvers who overcome tough challenges.
8. Respectfully avoid illegal questions
Illegal interview questions can be discriminatory to your race, gender, marital status, and others. If the panel asks you any of these, refuse to answer the question respectfully.
After the Interview
Woah! That was stressful! Now that you’ve finished the interview, here’s what you need to do:
1. Write a Thank You email
Show the interviewers common courtesy and respect when you send them your ‘Thank You’ email. It shows them that you want the job.
Thank you notes can also give you the chance to repeat the points you made during the interview. It can be a way to mention the subjects you forgot to discuss.
2. Congratulate yourself!
Congratulate yourself for giving your all before and during the interview. Go back home and have a glass of wine or coffee. Finally, be kind to yourself while waiting for the results.
Remember these first job interview tips
Are you having your first job interview through phone, video, or a group? These tips will also work in your favor. The most vital point is to behave, get dressed, and converse like you would do during a face-to-face interview.
First job interviews are always full of jitters. Take note of these tips to ease them and help you nail your interview. Remember to be professional, speak from the heart, thank the interviewer for considering you, and enjoy the process!