April 04, 2016 - Posted to Job Interview
The key to communication is having enough knowledge to communicate with - and that knowledge is not necessarily about the job alone - it covers areas you may well not have thought of having anything to do with communication.
That job you always wanted just came up. You tidied up your resume and sent it off, and rather like the lottery ticket, you never really expected to hear anything back - but here it is - the “Invitation to interview.” Laying on the kitchen table and giving you two weeks of sleepless nights and nerves.
The job interview is one of the most stressful events that we undertake. The pressure of being up against hundreds of other candidates for that one position can be overwhelming and fraught with unfounded and debilitating worries. So how can you take steps to alleviate those fears and make an impression on the day that will nail you that position?
Planning Is The Key
The whole idea is to eliminate the worry and the stress which will stunt your performance and make you nervous in front of the recruiter.
Firstly, do your homework: this is not just about the job itself - you need to “prepare” everything properly.
Sort your clothes, your haircut and your general appearance out. It is said that you have just 6 seconds, as you walk into an interview, to make an impression - make sure it counts. Wear something in keeping with the job.
You can check this aspect out when you do your reconnaissance of the company, (see below). Cut your nails and sort out your personal hygiene. Do all of this, at least, a week before the interview and double check everything. Do not put on the suit just before you leave only to find that it no longer fits or that there is a stain or a button missing! That alone will destroy your confidence.
Do a dummy run of the route to check how long it will take and to scope out any anticipated problems, (roadworks, traffic jams, airline strikes, public holidays and so on). If you combine this with the "look-see" of the company you will have enough insight to enable you to relax and concentrate on the actual interview.
Check Them Out
Do a reconnaissance of the company - actually go there - sit in reception or hang around in the lobby for a bit and soak in the atmosphere. Read the company notices. See what everyone is wearing and how they behave.
This is vital - you want to fit in - and you never know until the interview itself, how useful some little snippet of information you picked up might be. Something as simple as noticing a visiting company on the notice board you can drop into the conversation or the name of the receptionist. If you can give the impression that you already fit in you are halfway there.
See if you can, (and be subtle about this if you are doing it in person, at the company) find out the name of the person who will be doing your interview. If you can, ask about them to get a general impression - that way you have an idea of who you will be dealing with and can prepare accordingly. Google everything you can on them. Look for some commonality with them, (hobbies, interests, former workplaces, mutual acquaintances, etc.).
Armed with all this information you can then marry this up with your own knowledge of the actual job position and prepare a strategy.
Get a list of standard interview questions and run through what your answers would be. Be logical and thorough. Physically write down all the points - this will cement them in your mind much better than just thinking them through. This is important in order to overcome the nerves that you will feel on the day and embed your responses so that, (ironically) they seem more natural and spontaneous.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have done that, enlist the help of a good friend, neighbour, colleague or parent and brief them about the job and the company and the interviewer - this in itself is good practice and helps to reinforce the necessary information. Then get them to use your interview questions and to conduct a dummy interview with you as the interviewer.
Give them leeway to go off track and ask you questions that might throw you and some tough ones that you didn’t necessarily anticipate. If you can, record this on your phone or recording device and play it back; if you can video it, so much the better.
Play it back and go through it to analyze where you think you may have gone wrong and what you got right. Again get your collaborator to help you and give their impressions. You will then be aware of your posture, your hand movements, your demeanor and your general body language and can work on improving the problem areas before the interview day.
Put all of this preparation together and you will bounce into that interview brimming with the confidence of having eliminated all of the nasty surprises and trip-ups that can wreck your composure and self-assurance, and enable you to come across as THE candidate that they have to have ...