How to Cope with the Interview Process
So your CV has got you through to interview stage. Remember at this point, your potential employee has probably not only looked through you CV but also checked you out on social media, so will have some idea of your style.
But when it comes to interviews, whether face-to-face, telephone, social media or skype, there are ways to ensure you are fully prepared and have given yourself the best chance to succeed.
The key is to take your time, remain calm and be open and honest. By approaching them in the right way and taking note of a few key things, you can make sure you don’t freeze on the big day.
Preparation is key
You should already know your CV like the back of your hand, but there’s no harm in giving it one last read so you can immediately answer any questions about your past employment and education.
Getting a good night’s sleep before the interview is important so you feel fresh. Try not to leave your planning to the last minute. The night before is when you should sort what you’re going to wear out and polish your shoes before having a nice bath or shower and a long sleep.
Travelling to your interview can also be stressful. Try to do a trial run before the day of your interview so you know exactly how long it takes and can plan accordingly. Even on the day, remember to check for any travel issues before you leave.
If you’re made to wait in reception before you’re taken into the interview room or you’re naturally early, always make use of the facilities before your interview – to retouch your make up, adjust your clothing and even to make sure there is nothing stuck in your teeth!
Also use that time to have a few deep breaths and think about some small talk you can have with your interviewer. Most people do not realise that the interview effectively starts here. Even something as simple as commenting on the nice decor in the office or the good recent weather helps break the ice and puts you at ease.
Questions and Answers
There’s really no way you can prepare for every question they throw at you so don’t even try. But do about possible responses to the more common questions, the ‘who, what, why, where, when’ as you will be less likely to be tongue tied during your interview.
Think about the different types of questions that will undoubtedly be mixed in to your interview. Open questions posed will be looking to see your attitudes and feelings towards the company and work. The interviewer will want to continue to form the picture of you as a perspective employer to see if you will fit into the culture of the company.
At the other extreme closed questions usually only produce a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ answer. These are useful for checking pure facts and eliciting a direct response. They can also be used to stop the interviewee doing all the talking, or they can be used to limit the relevant parts of the interview.
Probing questions are used to clarify, to justify or to reveal strengths or weaknesses – areas that the interviewee may wish to hide. The questions tend to be quite specific and predictable, and they are normally used when the interviewee is being over-talkative or when the conversation is drifting a bit.
Interviewers often ask the ‘What if?’ question. It may be because this is an actual situation, which you will have to face in the job, or it could be asked just to test your ability to think on your feet. Answer the question as best you can and be able to back up your answer with your own experience.
Acting the Part
Even if you’re not feeling confident, make sure you act confident. Always try to use appropriate body language in your interview, such as making a positive (but not finger crushing) handshake, looking your interviewer in the eye, and sitting up straight in your chair.
You may not be given the option, but if you can, try and get your interview arranged in the morning. That way you don’t have the whole day for things to run over in your mind and you can get it out of the way.
If you have an interview arranged in your lunch hour you might feel rushed to get out in time; and if you are having it after work you may have had a stressful day – and so might have your interviewer!
Remember that everything the interviewer knows about you has been taken from the information you have supplied on your CV and social media. Your CV, like your LinkedIn profile is your very own press release about yourself and it forms the script for the interview.
So, if you find yourself experiencing some tough interviews and tough interview questions, it may well be that you need to change the way you are presenting yourself.
The best bit of advice is don’t worry; just try to relax into the interview and be yourself. The job interview is as much for you to see if you like the company as it is for them to see if they like you – so go in with an open mind.