When it comes to the big interview, this is how to conquer your nerves and net your dream job.
You’ve pressed your suit, done your research and now you need to show off your skills in that interview for your dream job.
But nerves get the best of all of us, and whether you turn into a motormouth or clam up under stress, first impressions count.
Never fear, help is at hand. From dressing the part to interview preparation, we talk to an expert about how to get hired.
Time to prepare
“When that all-important email comes inviting you for an interview, it’s usually because your application has made an impression,” explains Anna Howell, founder of career guidance service The Careers Lounge.
When it comes to preparation, knowing what your skills are and how they match up with the role is a great starting point.
You might not have all the experience listed, but showing that you’re prepared to learn will make a positive impression.
Before the big day, Anna recommends learning about the company as part of your preparation.
“It’s a good idea to research the company you are applying to, to see what their mission statement and corporate values are,” she says.
You should also think of potential questions you might get asked. Common ones include telling the interviewer about yourself, why you want the role and what skills you have. Keep your answers to the point without selling yourself short.
The big day
It’s interview day, so take a deep breath and get ready to wow them. But first, the outfit: Should you always wear a suit?
“As a rule of thumb, it is always better to wear professional clothing than to turn up too casual as it might give the wrong impression,” Anna advises.
“There is absolutely no problem with phoning an employer ahead to check your date and time of interview, and also to ask the dress code just to be sure.”
As you go into the room, shake off those nerves, shake their hand and smile – it’s time to show your stuff.
“Remember that the interviewer wants you to shine at the interview,” Anna advises.
“Of course, it’s about finding out if you are suitable for the job, but it’s also about whether or not you will fit into the company and mix well with colleagues – these factors are just as important to an employer.”
Asking questions of your own will show your prospective employer that you’re excited about the role.
For example, you could ask your interviewer what their typical day looks like, or what they like best about working there.
“If you have a question you are not sure of, don’t be afraid to ask if they can explain exactly what they mean, or if they could simplify the question slightly,” Anna suggests.
“Just be yourself, don’t try to show off or be clever as it might backfire. If you really want this job, your natural personality will shine through and they will see the real you.”
The next steps
After the interview, the wait begins. You might get called back for more interviews as the candidates are whittled down.
If you don’t get the role, try not to let it demotivate you – instead, use the feedback as ammunition to improve next time.
“It is now common practice to contact an employer about seven to ten days after the interview,” Anna says.
“If you have been unsuccessful, you can ask for feedback on your performance and any suggestions they might have as to where you could improve.
“The more practice interviews you have, the better and more relaxed you will feel, which means your true personality, enthusiasm and knowledge will come through. Have as many interviews with as many people as you possibly can – and good luck!”
Be proactive: Learn about the role and the company before the interview – especially any key values or skills required.
Be passionate: Whether it’s just a part-time role to make ends meet or your ultimate dream job, it doesn’t matter – smile, know your stuff and show excitement over aspects of the role.
Be yourself: The nerves will kick in, but try to smile and talk confidently about your experience to let your personality shine through.