It is inevitable. At some point during your life, you will be required to interview for a job. Regardless of your previous employment experience, this can be an extremely nerve-racking process. An interview is the time when you essentially make or break your chances of receiving a job offer, which explains why numerous people feel intense anxiety as they prepare themselves for questioning.
Regardless of the position you are seeking, or your past interview experience, reviewing the following tips will help you feel more comfortable and confident during your next interview. When you're adequately prepared for an interview, you may even find that you can learn to enjoy the process!
Ten Tips for a Successful Interview
10. Know the company. Employers are looking for proactive, self-motivated individuals who are willing to work hard without continual guidance and supervision. If you arrive to an interview and know the company's general background and history, and also what their mission and goals are, the person conducting the interview will be extremely impressed and take note of your knowledge. Conversely, if you arrive with no idea of what the company is all about, the interviewer will also take note - negatively. You should compliment your knowledge of the company with an in-depth understanding of the position you are applying for. Not only should you understand what is expected of applicants, but also which characteristics you possess that prove you are a good fit for the position. This will allow you to best present yourself as a strong candidate for hire.
9. Be prepared for questions. An interview will consist of numerous questions, many of which are predictable. Prepare for these questions ahead of time. Develop a list of your strengths and weaknesses and, as previously stated, determine which ones will help you excel in the position you are applying for - emphasize these strengths throughout the interview. You must also prepare for questions related to your most significant triumphs and challenges. These are events you have no doubt experienced, but may not have thought about in years! Many questions that are asked during interviews are extremely easy to answer; however, being put on the spot can make it much harder to come up with a well organized answer. Utilize resources that list common interview questions to prepare yourself. This will help you formulate impressive answers to sometimes difficult questions, while also improving your overall interview skills.
8. Pace yourself. If you are caught off guard by a question or comment, take a few seconds to formulate and organize your thoughts. This is no big deal, and the time will seem much longer to you than to the interviewer. Never use fillers such as "um" or "like" to stall the conversation. Instead, present your thoughts saying, "You know, that is a great question. I haven't thought much about it." Then take a second, develop your answer, and continue. This will help the interviewer realize that you did indeed hear their question and are determining how to best answer - you aren't simply ignoring them. Taking your time to present insightful answers is much better than giving random answers to simply save time.
7. Emphasize your strengths. This is essential. Employers are looking for significant reasons that they should hire you. If you present yourself as someone who exhibits mediocre talent in all areas, why would someone want to hire you? Companies are looking for people who know what they are good at and aren't afraid to utilize their talents and skills to benefit the company. Understanding your strengths will help you better understand yourself, and also help you become a much more successful interviewee.
6. Acknowledge your weaknesses. Although knowing your strengths is essential while interviewing, knowing and understanding your weaknesses is just as important. Employers will often ask which of your skills need improvement, or which talents you lack. It is tempting to promote yourself as flawless to employers; however, they know that no candidate is perfect. Employers will be much more impressed by an individual that knows his or her shortcomings and is working to improve them, than they will be by individuals who pretend that they are perfect. Furthermore, individuals who aren't afraid to admit their flaws and shortcomings also promote themselves as trustworthy and honest while doing so.
5. Be punctual. This is critical when interviewing. You never want to show up late to an interview, as this makes it seem as though you do not value your interviewer's time. If you can't show up to an interview on time, the company will instantly question your ability to meet deadlines and be on time for commitments. This is obvious; however, being too early may also be viewed negatively. Showing up more than 10 minutes early can make the interviewer feel pressured to hold the appointment earlier in order to accommodate your schedule. Arriving this early can also make it seem as though your days lack structure. Make your interviewer value your time as much as you value their's. If you arrive at your destination early, simply take the extra 5 or 10 minutes to prepare yourself mentally. Review some of the main points you want to hit during your interview, and also take a minute to relax. Arrive to your interview 5 minutes early. This shows that you are punctual, and you value your interviewer's time. It also shows that you don't wait until the last minute to arrive at appointments.
4. Smile. It has been stated time and time again, people seem much more approachable and easy to talk to if they are happy. Smiling frequently throughout your interview will make you seem more confident and relaxed. Nobody wants to hire a grump! That being said, don't plaster a fake smile on your face just for the sake of it. Let smiling come naturally. This will be easier as you gain experience working and interviewing.
3. Dress appropriately. If nothing else, remember this tip - it is difficult to over-dress for an interview, but extremely easy to under-dress. Yes, the level of dress you need to wear will vary depending upon the position you are seeking and the company that is offering it, but it never hurts to look professional. A suit and tie are a safe bet for male interviewees, and a blouse or button up shirt with a skirt or dress pants is great for a female interviewee. You must be the judge of what is most appropriate, but remember, nobody ever gets turned down for dressing too nicely.
2. Maintain eye contact. An interview, when successful, should mimic a conversation. When was the last time you talked to someone while staring at the wall or looking at your feet? Although constant eye contact can become uncomfortable, employers will definitely notice your attempts to keep their attention while conveying your thoughts. Try your best to maintain regular eye contact. Doing so will also show the interviewer that you value what they have to say.
1. Exude confidence. Confidence is key when interviewing. In some career fields, confidence is the single most important factor in determining your long term level of success. Some employers will hire you based on confidence alone. Employees who are extremely confident in their abilities usually learn much more quickly and work much more efficiently and effectively - all traits that companies are looking for from their newest hires. Be warned, however, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Avoid crossing this line at all costs. Confident employees make dreams come true, while arrogant employees cause nightmares. If you remember to relax and enjoy yourself while interviewing, your confidence will soon appear.
These are some of the best ways to adequately prepare yourself for your next big interview. By reviewing this list of tips any time you have an upcoming interview, you can rest assured that you will be more calm, more confident, and best of all, enjoy yourself much more while interviewing.