Looking for tips and advice on job interviews? These pages look at preparation, technique and answers to difficult questions. We can also help you make a good first impression and avoid those nerves.
Here are a few initial points that are often overlooked:
Know your experience – Although company research is important, many people place too much emphasis on finding obscure facts and figures and imagining what horrible questions may be asked.
Remind yourself of what you can do and everything that you have learned and achieved in previous roles or your education. Having your own experiences fresh in your mind can help you to draw on a range of examples in response to tough questions.
It will enable you to be more flexible and reduce reliance on rehearsed responses or examples from only your last position. Remember your qualities and have confidence in them. Showing self-confidence that you are the right person for the job can often tip the balance in your favour.
You are already half way there! Convincing the interviewer that you can do the job is not the only issue. Remember – you were invited to interview for a reason. The employer will have looked at the skills and experience on your CV, covering letter or application form.
At this stage, success may depend as much on who they like the most and who they would like to be part of their team. Many recruiters say that by the interview stage, 50% of what they are looking for is the ability to fit in quickly and harmoniously with the current group. See the meeting as a chat – not just a test.
Everybody gets nervous – If you showed no sign of nervousness, employers would think you were unusual. They want to work with a human being and will expect you to exhibit nerves to some extent. It also shows that you place importance on the meeting.
One experienced recruiter told me that when conducting her first few interviews, she felt as if she was the most nervous person in the room! After all, she was meeting people for the first time and she also had to make a good, professional, first impression. Acknowledge that your nerves are natural and you can begin to forget about them.
Avoid caffeine – You will probably have plenty of adrenaline pumping to keep you awake on the day of a job interview. Try to avoid tea or coffee, as they can make you more nervous.
Enthusiasm is key – Showing that you want to work for this company is more important than being the perfect candidate on paper. Yes, the next applicant may have twice as much experience, but if he or she acts as if the position is just a temporary stepping-stone then you may jump ahead.
A recruiter will normally be looking for an ambitious candidate, who will be happy to train and develop with the company. If your career goals can be fulfilled within the organisation, you are likely to be a loyal, hard-working employee.
There are a number of do’s and don’ts that employment experts frequently advise on. However, no two interviews will be the same. Work on the areas that you feel need most improvement. More tips: presenting yourself at job interviews
Written by Av Srivastava.
Av Srivastava (MIRP, CertRP) is an expert on many employment issues and has helped hundreds of individuals and businesses to market themselves effectively. He has been hired by a government-sponsored agency to coach job skills and
has been a live guest on BBC Radio, giving advice on dealing with interviews.
He is a member of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (MIRP).