Job interviews aren’t meant to be comfortable. By nature, they’re meant to put you on the spot. To test how you’ll respond under pressure and in a tough social environment. That doesn’t exactly put you at ease, does it?
What if I told you that first impressions are everything? That you can lose a job based on how you present yourself both physically and verbally? Sweating yet?
Here’s the thing: interviews might seem daunting, but if you obey a few simple rules, they’re pretty easy and can even be fun.
After all, if you don’t get the job you’re after and you’ve made a good impression, you’ve just created connections in your field, regardless.
So, here are a few tips for making that good first impression:
One of the most common questions you’ll be asked in an interview is, “Why do you want to work for us?”
It’s a question that leaves a lot of potential employees stumped and stuttering. “Uh, because I need a job?” That’s not an option. You have to give your potential employer a cogent, well-prepared answer.
A business owner’s primary job is to protect a company’s culture. They want to ensure that whomever they hire is not only fit for the job, but a fit for the company’s vision and purpose. If not, the odd person out will only create a deficit in morale and possibly drag down productivity.
This is why you must research the company before you a) apply to the job b) go the interview. You want to be a part of their company? You want to contribute to the business and earn your keep? You have to know who they are and why you want to be a part of the experience. If not, what’s the point?
Google the company. Google the heads. If they have a wiki-page, trawl through it for information. Find their social media pages and study them, study their brand, their followers, their mission. Understand what they want and prove that you’re going to provide it.
Not, “So, like, what’s your favorite band?” but more like, “Where do you see your company in five years?”
This isn’t just them interviewing you, it’s you interviewing them. If you don’t feel the company is a right fit for you as a person, you have every right to turn them down. The opportunity isn’t an opportunity if it doesn’t fit you.
Ask questions that are important to you. Do you need natural light in the office? Ask about the lighting? Do you want to know what the office routine is like? Ask.
Remember, however, there’s a fine line between polite enquiry and downright rude inquisition. Too much and you’ll put off your employers. The trick here is to display that you’re interested in their company and want to ascertain whether they’re a good match for you.
Bonus Tip: Desperation reeks. If you demonstrate the willingness to step away from something you don’t agree with, you show that you don’t back down from your morals. This can be done verbally or physically.
Why Are You An Asset?
Okay, so you’ve done your research and you understand who they are, what they want, and why you’re applying to the position, right? They’re going to ask you why you’re an asset to their company.
Why should they hire you? Figure this out beforehand. Try to make it targeted to their company. If you’ve spotted they struggle with a certain social media platform, and you’re a social media manager applying for the position, mention it and ways in which you can help bolster them.
Point out that you’re providing a specific skillset which they need. It all comes down to your prior research. If you’re truly a fit for the position, figuring out how you can help them won’t be a challenge.
Bonus Tip: “Because I’m a hard worker,” isn’t going to get you far. That’s what everyone else will say. Stand out.
Rest and Relaxation
Anyone who’s attended a job interview will tell you it’s pretty nerve-wracking. It’s doubly so for folks who suffer from anxiety disorders. That’s why it’s important to get proper rest before your interview.
The day before, do something that relaxes you. Do yoga, practice mediation, get an early night. If you know you’re going to struggle with sleep because you’re nervous, try exercise, and breathing techniques to calm yourself. Stay well-hydrated.
Remember that this interview is just one step on your journey. It’s one challenge you will face and conquer.
Be well groomed and appropriately dressed. Neatness goes a long way to impressing prospective employers. Don’t go overboard with cologne or perfume. It’s tempting to go all out and overdo it, but this will only come across desperate.
When you’re in the interview, sit straight – but not stiff as a board – and project your voice properly. Don’t mumble. Breathe easy as you can. Smile when appropriate. Make eye contact and keep easy conversation.
Answer questions honestly. That’s the most important trait you can have – integrity. If a potential employer senses duplicity in you, you’re toast. Lying will get you nowhere fast. If you don’t know something, ask.
Bonus Tip: Remember, these are just people. They’ve got families and jobs, too. They were once in the same position as you, sitting in front of a prospective employer sweating it out. You’re connected by human experience. Breathe!
The Admin Stuff
This is technically part of physical presentation since it will leave a good impression on your interviewer. Bring copies of your resume, just in case, as well as stationery for taking notes, should you need it. A pen and paper for notes and questions. Carry them in a professional-looking briefcase – don’t just whip them out of your pocket.
An interview doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s an opportunity to present yourself and your skills in the best possible light. Take it.