When your dream job is on the line, it’s easy to let nerves get the better of you. Learning to control pre-interview jitters is one of the essential steps you need to take to be able to land a job. But taking control of your nerves is not the only thing you can do. There is a lot of preparation that goes into a successful interview, but the good news is that this all gets easier with practice.
By following these 9 tips, you could be more prepared, more confident and more successful in your interview. If you’re preparing for a life-changing job opportunity, follow the advice from the Nolan Recruitment team to find out how you can increase your chances of success.
All interview success starts with research. You need to know the company and the role inside out. If you don’t understand the job you are applying for, it’s not down to the hiring manager to explain it to you. If you want to impress your potential future employer, you need to step up and do the research. Check the news for any notable mentions, check their blog and have a look at social media to see what they are particularly proud of. You can also look on LinkedIn to see if you have any connections in the company already.
All the information the hiring manager has on you can be found in your CV and cover letter. If they ask you a question about anything on your CV or cover letter, you need to be prepared to answer it. If you struggle to retain this information in an interview setting, bring an annotated copy of your CV. This could include additional notes and stats that you may want to bring up.
Every interview will feel very unique, but after a while, you’ll start to notice the same questions cropping up. They might be phrased differently, but they are all asking the same thing. Look at a list of popular interview questions and prepare your answers for these hypotheticals. You can start with the popular interview question “can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” Once you get used to talking about yourself in a practice setting, it will become a lot easier in an interview setting.
If you struggle to keep your answers on track, try using the STAR method to answer the question. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. Start by giving some background information on the situation, then outline the task at hand. Next, outline the action you took to achieve your final results. This can be used in a situation where you succeeded or failed, provided you can demonstrate what you learned from the situation.
There is nothing worse than rushing to get to an interview. You need to give yourself plenty of time so you can have a moment to collect your thoughts. Staying calm throughout the interview process is one of the best ways to keep a clear head and increase your chances of success.
Deep breathing exercises will help you to slow down your breathing and your heart rate, so this can be great when your nerves are getting out of control. Arrive early, find a quiet spot to neaten up your appearance, and then head to the reception desk around 5 minutes before your interview start time.
You will often be offered a drink when you arrive. Instead of asking for tea or coffee, ask for a glass of water. Tea of coffee will often arrive scalding hot and you won’t have time to drink it. A glass of water, on the other hand, can be a very useful pacing tool.
You will be expected to talk a lot, so you can expect to get a dry mouth. A glass of water can also help you to slow down, pause and think about your answers for a moment. In an interview setting, sitting in silence for even a second can feel like an eternity. So taking a moment to take a sip of water will look natural, but also give you time to compose yourself and formulate your answer.
With so much going on, it can be easy to forget that your entire behaviour and demeanour is being observed and judged. Your body language says a lot about you and your motivation. Make sure you sit up straight, make eye contact and avoid any nervous fidgeting. If you are prone to clicking your pen, make sure you aren’t holding on. And if you play with your hair when you are nervous, try tying it up out of the way.
As a general rule, assume that you are being observed at all times. This means that you should maintain positive body language when you are in the waiting area. It’s also a good idea to avoid checking your phone once you are in the company building.
An interview is not just a chance for the employer to see what you can do, it’s also a chance for you to see if you even want to work for the company. As it is a two-way street, make sure you prepare some questions for the end. Questions let the hiring manager know that you are an engaged candidate and that you are interested in taking the opportunity to the next stages. At the very least, you should enquire about the next stages in the recruitment process.
After your interview, follow up with the hiring manager to thank them for their time. This is a small step, but it lets them know that you are interested in the role. Likewise, if you leave the interview and decide the role isn’t right for you, let the company know that you won’t be pursuing the opportunity further. You never know when you might encounter the company or the hiring manager again, so it makes sense to be courteous.