Are you about to go on a job interview? Are you feeling a little anxious? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of people feel nervous before job interviews. But don’t let your nerves get the best of you! There are things you can do to help you prepare for and ace your interview.
Check out these seven tips for a successful interview below. They will help to set you up for success!
1. Do Your Research
Before your interview, it is important to do your research on the company. This will help you to better understand their mission and values, and how you can contribute to their success. We suggest taking around 10-15 minutes to search for the business online and get an understanding of the business as a whole.
You should look for things like a mission statement or goals, company history, what services or products they offer, and the overall culture around the company. You should also look out for mentions of salary. If you can’t find anything about the salary range or the job role says something like “competitive” or “negotiable” salary, try looking online for the average pay for this role and come up with a ballpark amount that you think is fair.
Researching beforehand can help you to prepare for the interview and any surprise questions. It will also show that you understand the company and you are enthusiastic about the role, something that all employees like to see.
2. Prepare for common interview questions
While you won’t know exactly what questions you will be asked during an interview, some are more common than others. It is a good idea to prepare for these in advance so that you can give the best possible answers. Some common interview questions include…
This is one of the most difficult questions for anyone to answer and yet one of the most common that is asked. When an interviewer asks you this question, it is a chance to discuss some of your experience and goals you have listed on your CV. You should discuss your previous role and what you did there – or if you have no prior experience, you can discuss your studies and training.
This is where you can use your research. Mention what you know about the company and how it relates to your goals and values. You can also use this question to highlight skills that are relevant to the role – both hard and soft skills.
The most difficult part of the question is the weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, but who wants to admit them during a job interview? The best way to answer this is to minimise the negative traits and emphasise the positives. Talk about how you work around your weaknesses and how you try to improve on them.
You likely have an example of a stressful or difficult situation you have experienced in a previous job or during your studies. You simply need to describe what went wrong and what actions you took to solve the issue.
This question is designed to assess your work ethic and attitude. You should try and discuss a story from a previous job if possible, but a personal story might be okay if it shows that you are willing to go the extra mile even if it is an inconvenience to you.
This isn’t a very common question but can be incredibly difficult to answer if you are not expecting it. You should try to avoid badmouthing your previous job, as this gives the impression that you left your last job on bad terms.
You should also try to avoid anything non-career-related. There may be several reasons why this job is more convenient for you – shorter travel, more money, etc. – but you should keep these to yourself.
Try mentioning something about seeking new and bigger challenges or finding a role that is more aligned with your long-term goals. The interviewer wants to know if you are planning to have a long-term future with the role and if you are a positive person to work alongside.
With this question, you can use the research you did before your interview. You should have an idea of what the average salary is for the role and should be able to give a range.
If you are worried about pricing yourself too high or too low, you can always ask the interviewer what salary range they are considering for the role. This gives you a good area to work in and find the amount that matches your skills and what you can bring to the role.
3. Dress for success
When going to an interview, it is best to dress professionally and respectfully for the business you are applying to. This will show that not only do you take the interview seriously but also that you would be a great addition to their team. Clothing that is too casual or attention-grabbing might make the interviewer question your professionalism.
For women, dress pants or a tailored skirt with a blouse or shirt is always a safe option. For men, consider dress pants, a shirt and a tie. You can add a jacket to either of these, as long as it’s appropriate.
Stick to subtle tones like black, navy blue or grey. Keep bright colours or eye-catching details minimal.
Any accessories you add to the outfit should be used only to accentuate you and your personality, they should not be the main feature.
You should also keep your hair tidy, shoes clean, and any makeup should be minimal.
4. Arrive early
Arriving early for an interview shows that you are punctual and respectful of the interviewer’s time. If possible, try to arrive 10-15 minutes early so that you have time to relax and collect your thoughts before the interview begins.
Make sure to let someone know that you’re here for an interview and that you’ve arrived early. They should take you somewhere to wait until the hiring manager is ready for you. Take this time to prepare yourself and plan a few talking points you want to gravitate towards.
5. Be confident
During an interview, it is important to project confidence. This doesn’t mean that you should act cocky or arrogant, but rather that you should believe in your abilities and convey this through your body language and tone of voice. Remember, the interviewer is looking for someone who is confident in their abilities and who will be a positive addition to their team.
6. Ask questions
Asking questions during an interview shows that you are interested in the position and the company. At the end of the interview, most interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. Again, this is where researching the role and company beforehand is valuable. This is your opportunity to ask about things such as the company culture or future opportunities for growth within the organisation.
Check out this list of great questions to ask at an interview
7. Follow up
After your interview, be sure to follow up with a thank-you email expressing your appreciation for the opportunity. Make sure you include the job title and the date of your interview, especially if the position has a lot of candidates.
If you have not received a response in a few weeks, but the interview went very well, it is acceptable to send another follow-up email asking for any updates. Sometimes these decisions can take a long time to make so you don’t have to worry about sounding desperate or annoying. This also shows that you really want the job and are enthusiastic about starting.
Tips for a successful interview: Final thoughts
While you can never be completely sure how an interview will go, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of success. Preparation and practice are key, as is knowing yourself and what you have to offer a potential employer. Be friendly and positive, dress for the part, and stay calm and focused during the interview. And finally, always thank the interviewer for their time. Following these tips should help you feel more confident going into your next job interview – good luck!