Odds are that at this point in your life, you’ve never had a job interview before, but they are nothing to worry about. It’s just a chance for the company to get a sense of who you are and whether you’re a good fit for their organization It’s also your chance to interview the company and find out whether you’d like to work for them.
The more relaxed you are at the interview, the better. Of course, you’ll want to have a few tricks up your sleeve before going to the interview. if you want to impress, you shouldn’t turn up without doing some preparation.
Before the interview…
I am a firm believer in preparation. If you put a little bit of effort into researching the company and the role, and have a go at some practice interview questions, it’ll really pay off at the interview.
You can actually tell a lot about an employer from the employment pages of their website. Things such as the values they have, how easy it is to find out about potential jobs and their responses to you when you apply, can all tell you about the way they handle their recruitment. This in turn may be a reflection of what it’s like to work there. If it’s friendly and easy to apply for a job, then chances are they have given some thought to why you would want to work for them.
One thing that constantly surprises me is that how few people really have any understanding of the role that they are applying for. Job advertisements are partly to blame for this. They are often misleading. The person writing the advert is often not the person that you’ll be reporting to. Things always sound different on paper compared to what you will actually be doing in the role.
Also important is a real insight into the role and the recruitment process. Dig deeper than the advertisement. Put a call through if a contact number is provided. You can find out which of the skills that the employer requires are actually the priority. You can determine what you can do without and importantly you can start to make yourself known to your future employer.
Ask them questions about the recruitment process, what the steps are, how long each step takes, and whether they’ve had many applicants. You’d be surprised at the information you’ll receive if you sound polite and interested.
During the Interview
There are a few interview techniques that you can master to help you out during the interview. One of the big things they’ll be looking for in their ideal candidate is good communication skills.
It’s not just about what you say during the interview, but also how you say it. Speaking clearly and trying not to rush your words is very important. Even if you think it sounds a bit strange slowing down your speech, it really can make a big difference. Also, try to make eye contact with the interviewer when you speak to them. If you find this a bit awkward, then concentrate on the space between their eyes just above their eyebrows.
Also basic things such as posture need to be considered, sit up straight during the interview. You don’t need to sit bolt upright, but do pay attention to your posture. Uncross your arms, lift up that chin and put your shoulders back. If you’re slouching or hunched over, it’ll just make you seem like a stereotypical teenager, instead of a young professional. You want to seem eager, enthusiastic and alert, not moody or just plain bored.
Of course, interviews are all about the questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to clarify a question. You might want to prepare a list of questions to ask them at the end of the interview. These should usually be about the company and the opportunity, especially things that you haven’t been able to find out via their website.
You can also ask questions during the interview too, as well as at the end. This makes it seem like you are interviewing their company too and repositions the interview as a kind of formal conversation. It’s all about showing that you are interested and enthusiastic about the role and company, but also that you have a sense of your own self-worth.
After the interview…
It’s good manners to send a little thank you note after the interview to the interviewer, thanking them for the interview and reiterating your interest in the position
If you don’t get the job, try and get some feedback from the interviewer as to why you weren’t right for the role and how you can improve.
Above all, don’t get yourself too worked up about the interview. The employer won’t be expecting a super experienced, incredibly mature person. What they will be looking for is great potential, confidence and a willingness to learn.
So don’t be afraid to be yourself and let your personality come through, and don’t forget to smile!