I was and possibly still am one of the worst job interviewees. I like to think that over the last few months I have improved, at least marginally. And because I am now 1% closer to being a job interview master, I figured it was only time to share my very limited but possibly useful knowledge with the world. Or a very small portion of the world. Things that I wish I had been able to tell myself before throwing myself onto the chopping block rather unprepared.
1. Be authentic to yourself and your skills
I don’t know if this needs to be expanded on but basically be honest to yourself, your skills and your strengths. Don’t lie about a skill that you didn’t even know existed because there are two outcomes, and neither are great. Either they see through your lie and don’t trust anything else you say and you don’t get the job, or alternatively and quite possibly worse, they do believe you, you get the job and are thrown in the deep end without the necessary support. The other side to being authentic is to not become a robot, parroting off stuff you memorised that kind of almost fits their question. Be natural, be funny (if, unlike me, you are actually funny), if you’re nervous take a moment to gather yourself. Let them see your personality for what it is, not for how you think they want it to be (unless you’re crazy, in which case reign that in and save it for later). Don’t forget to Smile
2. Don’t forget how incredibly awesome you are
Whilst remembering our limitations, make sure to focus on your strengths and all the amazing skills that you would bring to the role. Now is not the time to be humble so tell them about all the times you saved other people’s butt because of how great you are (’cause you are great, and you know it, so make them know it too). Tell them about how great you would be as part of the team and what unique sills and visions you have to offer.
3. An interview is a two-way street
This little gem comes from my Dad who always reminds me that an interview is also my chance to see if the role is for me. My ultimate satisfaction now comes from making the interviewers sell themselves and the job to me. If I can do that then it changes the whole perspective on the interview (at least for me) and makes me 120% more comfortable. You can do this by asking questions like “What is the team environment like?”, “What would you say is the best thing about working for your company?” etc. Remember, this might not be the job for you (and that’s totally fine because you deserve the job that suits you) so now is the time to figure that out.
4. Be Prepared
Take some of Scar’s advice (but not all of it ’cause that feline was crazy mad) and be prepared for the interview, know what to expect. This might involve *actually* reading the job description (which I really hope I’m not the only person to forget to do), going online and looking up example questions, asking the interviewer in advance what types of questions they generally base their interview off (e.g. behavioural in which case practise makes perfect). I like to brainstorm things like the skills I have that are most relevant to the role and how I can make sure they come up enough. Do your homework so that you leave knowing you gave it your best shot.
5. Don’t take it too seriously
I am without a doubt one of the worst people in terms of freaking out over job interviews. Meet me half an hour before my interview and I will be shaky, sweaty, unsettled, hyperventilating, sculling coffees, stress eating chocolate and may have most likely lost the ability to speak English properly. Only extremely recently have I somewhat improved on this front and this is due largely to just looking at the interview not as a life/death situation but simply an opportunity to grow and develop, even if its just in becoming slightly less nervous next time. We all know job hunting can be one of the worst experiences, but try to approach each interview as a chance to become even more amazing at showing people how great you are, and as a bonus you might even get a job. If you don’t (and boy have I experienced that feeling..a lot) its not because you are a terrible person, its not because you went to shake their hand and then suddenly forgot how that worked, its not because you were too nervous to speak in full sentences. It’s because it wasn’t the job for you, and that’s okay.
I still have so much more to learn in terms of becoming less of a nervous wreck during interviews, so please let me know what you find most useful and what tips you have picked up!