You’ve found the perfect role. You refined the resume. You personalised the cover letter. You got the call! Now…it’s interview time. We all know that interviews can shake the steadiest of personalities. But there are solid strategies you can use to nail it on the day.
The biggest mistake we see is a lack of preparation…..no matter how strong you feel you are, or how sure you are that you have it covered it PREPARATION IS KEY!!
1. What’s my PLAN?
First things first…..review your application. Check the position description and interview details such as address, date/time and importantly who are you meeting. Ensure you have plenty of time to get to the interview and not be rushing in a flustered, sweaty mess. Allow yourself time to arrive 5 to 10 minutes early and calm any last minute nerves.
2. Talk about what you’ve learned and what you want to develop
Interviewers want to see self awareness and willingness to improve. They don’t want to hear that you think you’re perfect. Every time the interviewer asks you a question about a past experience, try to answer with what you learnt from it and how you intend to develop further. For example, if they say “tell me about your last job”, say “I was responsible for X,Y and Z. In that role, the most important thing I learnt was X. I intend to develop this knowledge by doing Y.” You haven’t just given them a vanilla answer about your duties. You’ve given them a reason to think more highly of you.
3. Keep your answers brief
When you are answering questions, keep your sentences short. Answer the question using the most clear and basic language you can. This can seem counterintuitive. People often think that you should use big words and long sentences to impress people, but actually the opposite is true.
“So often, our intuitions about what will impress others are wrong,” says Daniel M. Oppenheimer, professor of psychology at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In a series of studies on how the use of language can make one appear more or less intelligent, Oppenheimer found that the ease of processing information is strongly associated with positive qualities, including likeability and intelligence.
In other words, the easier it is to understand what you’re saying, the more likely it is that people will judge you as intelligent and likeable. Word choice does impact how you are perceived by your interviewer, and you should strive for clarity for the best results.
4. Prepare smart questions for them
Your interviewer will almost certainly ask if you have any questions for them. This is your chance to shine. How? Well, you need to have researched the company well. Website, press releases, blogs, everything. Have a few questions prepared based on information you discovered during your research. For example: “I see that you are aiming to expand into the Japanese market by the end of next year. Will I have an opportunity to contribute to this aim as part of my role”? Another great question is this: “From what we’ve discussed today, is there anything that has led you to think that I am not a good fit for this role?” There’s no doubt this question is bold. Don’t ask it unless you get a sense the interviewer will find it appropriate. It’s brilliant though, because it gives you the opportunity to address any concerns they may have around hiring you.
5. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare… and then prepare some more
EVERYONE says this is key, right? Well, it is. But it’s how you do it that counts. One of the things with the biggest potential to throw you off is cutting it close to being late for the interview. You can’t predict traffic or train delays. So do a mock travelling-to-the-interview day. Work out exactly how to get there and how long you’ll need. That way it’s a breeze on the day and you can use that extra time to relax and visualise yourself smashing the interview. Prepare your clothes and bag the night before. The morning of the interview should be totally stress free. Have a trusted family member or friend pretend to interview you and ask you all of the common questions. Running through a whole range of questions will have a two-fold positive effect — you’ll feel more confident going in to the interview and you’ll be totally ready to answer when the questions start coming.
6. Get Zen on the day
You want to be in the zone! Confident and relaxed. Positive, but calm. Blow them away with your “I’ve got this handled” vibe. If you’re not already into meditating, it’s super easy to listen along to a guided one. There are meditations specifically for reducing nerves or anxiety before stressful events or meetings. Also, nothing clears your head like a long run or a hard session at the gym. It will get rid of any sleepiness and stop all those thoughts running through your head about the interview. Let your body take over and get you primed and relaxed by expending excess energy and pumping up some endorphins. Your own body language can have a big impact on how you feel. Go somewhere private and stand like a superhero. Yep, that’s right. Stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips. Stick your chest out and smile. Stand like this for at least two minutes and you should feel your confidence rise and your anxiety decrease. Research has shown that doing this actually increases levels of testosterone in your body and reduces cortisol. That means your feeling of “I’ve got this” goes up, and those thoughts of “I don’t know how to handle this” will fade away.
Follow these tips to give yourself the best possible chance of nailing that interview.