Sweaty palms, a clenched-shut jaw and thoughts running at a million miles per hour. No, you’re not Tom Cruise about to execute some mind-boggling mission impossible. It’s far worse – you’re due for an interview any second now!
Take a deep breath and remember that the interviewer is not in the sole position of power. It’s a relationship – one that you have an equal say in. Be confident and take control. And remember, the interviewer is only human too.
Act as if you have a choice (you do!)
A job interview is not a one-way process with the interviewer grilling you. You also need to establish whether this is the right job and the right company for you. So you need to ask the right questions of the interviewer so that you too can make the right decision. Don’t be nervous during your interview. Act like you have other offers even, if you don’t, and make it clear that you have to make a decision as well as the interviewer. Of course, don’t come across as too cocky. If the interviewer doesn’t like you, that will diminish the chances of you being offered the job and having the opportunity to choose in the first place! Instead ask intelligent questions that show that you are genuinely interested in hearing more about the role, and finding out more about the company’s values, philosophy and management approaches to see if they mesh well with yours.
Think like an interviewer
That said, the question, ‘Tell us a little bit about yourself’ is not the cue for you to wax lyrical about every aspect of your life. Instead, it’s the perfect opportunity for you to present a well-prepared pitch on how you’re the right person for this particular job. Relate your background to the actual position that you’re applying for and try to match your skills to the organisation’s requirements as closely as you can. To do this effectively, a little interview preparation is in order. Once your interview is confirmed, have a look at the job advertisement again and identify the areas where you feel that your expertise would provide a good fit. Plan what you need to say to address these points convincingly. That way, you’ll be seen as a more valuable candidate and gain a higher chance of being issued that offer letter.
Say no to being a ‘yes’ man
While you naturally want to impress, coming across as a ‘yes’ man by agreeing to every single thing that the interviewer says isn’t necessarily going to do you any favours. Potential employers want candidates who can think critically and can obviously add value to the team.
Don’t lie either
It’s tempting to answer ‘yes’ to questions on experience or career skills you suddenly realise at the interview are critical to the job. If the job requires it and you ain’t got it, this move will only backfire on you in the long run, and a short job history isn’t going to look good on your resume. If you lie about experience or skills and you do end up being hired, you’re just setting yourself up for a fall when you fail to deliver. If the job is not meant to be yours just yet, let it be. Something that suits you better will come along.
Be confident, not over confident
Of course if you have got the chops, this needs to come out loud and clear at the interview. Having confidence in your abilities is an admirable trait that employers love to see. But take care not to cross the line into blatant bragging. Given their vast experience, your interviewer will probably be able to distinguish when you’re being genuine – and when you’re going over the top. And bragging is an ugly trait that could push you into the reject pile. No one wants to work with that guy!
Onwards and upwards
And if you come out of the interview thinking “That job’s not for me” or “I don’t stand a cat’s chance of landing that!” then chalk it up to one more job interview experience. And remember that what you are aiming for is not just any job, but the RIGHT job.
Keep these interview tips in mind for your next interview and you’re set to make a strong impression. After all, at this point, you’re already halfway there – you’ve crafted a stunning resume and spent time preparing for the interview. All you need to do now is to keep a clear head as you enter that interview room. Good luck!