Having employed the tactics from the search phase (Part 1) and successfully secured an interview, let’s look at some effective strategies/insights that will help you maximize your chances in acing the interview and landing your dream job.
The interview phase is usually the most daunting part of the whole job search process, where you are constantly tested and evaluated for worthiness amongst a sea of competitors. Your ego and self-esteem is at stake whilst you fight to earn your right to work for the business you applied for.
If you’re “lucky” you will get the life changing phone call that puts your heart and mind at ease. If you’re not you can either mope or you can pick yourself up and try again. Sounds like a terrible experience if you ask me, however it doesn’t have to be like that.
From my experience I find interviews the most enjoyable part of the process. Instead of adopting a fatalistic attitude – i.e. If I don’t get this job it’s over, I see it as just another chance to meet people you either click with or not – just like dating. Let’s explore some effective strategies to ace the interview and land your dream job.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
According to the Pareto principle, 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. In other words, the more you prepare the higher the chance you will achieve your desired results. Preparation involves addressing the multitude of aspects that can be evaluated (i.e. performance, appearance). Here are some common areas to be well prepared in.
Dress to the Nines
They say if you look good you feel good, and if you feel good you will create an air of confidence around you that will translate to a better impression.
There is already enough to on your plate to worry about. Do yourself a favor and dress as sharp and immaculately as you can, not only will you make a more favorable impression but you will feel more confident which is always comforting during high pressure situations.
Irrespective of what people say, our appearances have a strong bearing on our ability to influence others. Those who dress better tend to captivate our attentions and make lasting impressions. So don't forget to address the finer details, i.e. shine your shoes, iron your shirt, comb your hair, cufflinks etc.
Practice Makes Perfect
Depending on what job you are interviewing for your employer may arrange for various methods to evaluate your suitability for the role. Whether they use I.Q. tests, psychological tests, performance tests, interviews, or group activities to assess your caliber you should always be prepared. The key here is to do research prior to the actual interview and find out about all the ways in which you will be assessed.
Once you find out it's just a matter of practicing until you are confident enough for the real thing. It is far better to be over-prepared than under-prepared especially when we are talking about your dream job.
The Small Things
The small things can make the difference between landing your dream job or missing out. It's about attention to detail that makes small but powerful changes in people's perceptions about you. Here are some simple but powerful examples to keep in mind.
Remember and use people's names: The sweetest word to most people is their name. It shows that you care about them and that they matter. Repeat it a hundred times to remember it and don't overuse it or else it might sound insincere.
For extra impression points, learn their name before you even meet them. That always impresses people and gives the impression that you are switched and care.
Be early: Never ever be late for any appointment! Irrespective of what excuse you have it will not look good for you. Make it a habit to be punctual or always early. It signals to others that you care about other people's time. Besides this, you will be surprised at what a difference it makes when you're not in a rush.
ADDRESS YOUR ATTITUDE
Your attitude will determine how others respond to you and ultimately the results you achieve in life. Have a poor attitude and you will achieve poor results, simple as that. There are certain attitudes you can adopt that will completely change the way you experience interviews. These will maximize your chances in making strong impressions and succeeding in the interview phase.
Showing your true colors may seem like a counter intuitive move for most when it comes to an interview. Most people are too preoccupied with being the “perfect” employee that they lose their individuality - being afraid to say something wrong, overly obedient, and being almost mechanical in their behavior.
It serves no one to pretend to be someone you’re not. Projecting false qualities just to secure the job (hardworking, polite, confident etc.) is cheating yourself as much as your cheating your employer in the long run. How long can you put up that façade for? It’s far better to just be yourself and project your best qualities instead of try mask them. If you’re qualities don’t align with the culture then so be it, sooner or later you will find another job or organization that does align with your qualities.
In reality, you’re more likely to get a job by being yourself because people are drawn to those that are genuine and are not afraid to be themselves.
Don't Want the Job but do Your Best
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, the ones that want the job the least are usually the ones who get it. The reasoning is due to our nature to become too attached to our outcomes. When you become too focused or too attached to a particular outcome you give off desperate vibes/energies - the kind similar to that of frantic and stressed out people. And as a result of your emotional stress you lose focus, become anxious and your performance suffers dramatically. Just think about a time where you wanted something so 'badly' that you ended up destroying your chances instead.
On the other side, when you are not attached to the outcome you are often relaxed and able to perform at your peak without being stressed out or frantic.
The best attitude combines detachment of the outcome with a commitment to doing one's best. This is the most powerful attitude you can adopt in any situation especially an interview. Be a go getter who has nothing to lose, that way you demonstrate ambition and potential whilst displaying the fortitude of a leader.
STATE OF MIND
Your state of mind is critical in ensuring all the elements of your interview fit together. For instance, if you are feeling agitated or sad it doesn’t matter how sharp you look, what you have on your résumé, or how well you performed, if you fail to stand out or connect with the recruiters you may very well jeopardize your chances of landing the job.
As much as the recruitment officer understands the pressures and stresses an interview can bring, the key individual traits they are looking for are almost universal. These traits essentially stem from your state of mind, so spend some time creating these states within yourself before the interview.
Confident: Confidence is either nature or nurtured. If you aren't naturally confident you can find ways to temporarily boost your confidence levels. I find that doing my own personal 'Haka' or psyching myself up really boosts my confidence. The key is to finding your own method or activity that boosts your confidence just before your interview.
Relaxed: You perform your best when you are in a relaxed state of mind. Being relaxed allows you to be in the zone - a state of flow where your ideas, words and actions are optimal in achieving your goals. To be relaxed practice some deep breathing or meditation, alternatively you can get a massage or whatever you find relaxes you the most.
Engaged: Immerse yourself into the interview. Give your full attention irrespective of the outcome. Becoming truly engaged means putting your focus on anyone other than yourself. The more engaged you are the better you are able to perform. Get plenty of rest and eat nutritious food, that way your mind will be able to fully engage with the task at hand.
If at anytime you catch yourself in a negative frame of mind, refocus on becoming confident, relaxed and engaged. These are the 3 key pillars to achieve optimal performance in any given situation.
Landing your dream job is not an easy feat. It takes lots of time, energy and sacrifice. Applying these techniques discussed in both the job search phase and interview phase will definitely give you a greater advantage in landing your dream job however without passion your dream job will quickly fade away. If you truly dedicate yourself to following your passions everything will eventually fall into place without the need of these strategies and insights.
Irrespective of what job you're applying for, these techniques will make you a better person in all aspects of life. Just remember the reason why you are doing what you are doing. The reason is what fuels our passions and defines our dream job.
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