Job interviews can be intimidating for even the most accomplished professionals. Research shows that interviewers tend to make their mind up about a candidate within the first 15 minutes of a 30-minute job interview, so it’s not surprising that we find them a bit nerve-racking.
However, it pays to remember that if you’ve been invited to a job interview it’s because they already believe your skills and experience are a good fit. So as long as you show up well-prepared, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be the one to get the job.
With this in mind, if you’re currently looking for a job or already have a few prospects lined up, here are five ways to make sure you nail your interview.
1. Thoroughly research the company
Your first step once you’ve been invited for a job interview is to thoroughly research the company. The job description itself can give you some insights into a company’s values, so start by carefully rereading it. Do they seem to value flexibility? Are they looking for a team player or someone who can work independently?
Next, you should check the company’s website and social media pages. Who are the key players within the organisation? What products or services do they offer? Who are the company’s clients? Is the dress code formal or laidback? Sites like Glassdoor can also be useful for getting a feel for the company’s workplace culture.
Once you understand the company’s values, you’ll be able to better position yourself as the best candidate for the job.
2. Prepare your elevator pitch
Having an elevator pitch prepared when you head into a job interview means you won’t be caught off guard by open ended questions like “Can you tell us a bit about yourself?”
Your elevator pitch should be a brief description of who you are, what you do, and what you believe makes you different from other candidates. Try to keep it short and succinct, but also find a way to show some personality and share your story.
For example, is there anything you weren’t able to include in your resume or cover letter? What inspired you to get into your current line of work? Is it something you were passionate about as a child? Or maybe you had an “aha moment” where you realised what you wanted to do?
3. Be prepared to provide examples
Hiring managers will usually ask you to provide them with a few examples of times when you demonstrated the skills they’re looking for. So you should always have concrete examples ready to back up any claims you make about your skills and experience.
Study your resume and think of some examples for the main skills and strengths you’ve listed. For example, if you say you’re reliable and hardworking think about how you can demonstrate this. Do you often work extra hours? Do you rarely take a sick day?
If you believe you’re a good team player, share some examples from your previous job where you worked with others and got positive results. If you say you’re good at dealing with conflict, talk about a specific situation where you were able to resolve a dispute with a co-worker or customer.
4. Ask a few questions of your own
At the end of the job interview, you’ll usually be given a chance to ask any questions you might have about the job. Although it’s not mandatory, asking some questions of your own is another opportunity to demonstrate that you have researched the company thought about the role.
It’s a good idea to jot down some potential questions beforehand, but make sure you don’t ask anything that has already been covered during the interview or could have been found on the company’s website or in the job description.
Try to ask questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and show that you’ve thought about what it would be like to work there, such as “Can you tell me a bit about the team I’ll be working with?” or “Are there opportunities for professional development?”
5. Show confidence
Another thing that’s important during an interview is to show confidence. Simply being well-prepared will already help you feel more confident, but there are also smaller things you can do to boost your confidence before a job interview.
For example, research shows that the clothes you choose to wear can affect your mood and overall confidence. So it’s important to not only dress well, but also to wear something you feel good in. Practicing so-called ‘power poses,’ visualising a positive outcome, and using positive self-talk can also boost your confidence and self-esteem.
If you’re feeling nervous, resist the urge to fidget with your hands or tap your feet on the ground. Instead focus on your breathing, sit up straight, and make eye contact when talking.
Finally, remember that the interviewers already believe your skills and abilities are a good fit or they wouldn’t have invited you for an interview. So try to have fun with it and keep in mind that it’s just as important for you to like them as it is for them to like you.
Are you still in the earlier stages of your job search? For advice on how to craft a strong CV that will land you interviews, be sure to check out the Open Colleges resume guide.