Job interviews are hardly ever fun and can even be scary but there are ways to give yourself an edge and make the interview a more positive experience for you. Here are a few tips on what you can do before the day of the interview to help make the process easier:
1 Research the company
It is important to learn all you can about the company you hope to join before you go for an interview with them. In fact, you should learn as much as possible about the industry that company is in as well. Even if you’re not asked a direct question about the company, subtly dropping in information you know about them will show that you are eager to join the organisation and will work in your favour.
2 Think up questions for your interviewer
Although it may not look like it, a job interview is a two-way interaction. They may be interviewing you for a job but you should also be interviewing them to see if the company will be a good match for you. There’s no need to be arrogant here. You may think you are wonderful and that any company would be mad not to hire you but a job interview is not the place to express those thoughts. Show some humility. The job interview is a learning process. You may find out during the interview that the company isn’t one you would want to join after all and one of the ways you could find that out is by asking questions. Even if you are desperate to join the company, when you get the chance, ask a few questions about them, for example, why has the position you are interviewing for become open, what kind of training will be offered, is the company thinking of going in such and such a direction in the industry? All these questions, especially the last one, will show you have done your homework about the company, that you want to develop within the organisation and that you want to help the company grow.
3 Take along (relevant) extras
By this, I do not mean your mother. I read somewhere that an interviewer was shocked when a job-seeker turned up for an interview with his mother, presumably to help answer any especially tough questions. Needless to say, he did not get the job. When I say take extras to a job interview, what I mean is you need to take along any materials that will show that you are a great person to hire. Those materials can be directly relevant to the job you seek or not, all that matters is that they show you in a good light. For example, when I interviewed for my first job out of university, I had no work experience but I had had articles published so I took them along with me even though I was interviewing for a sales job. When I saw an opportunity during the interview, I mentioned that I had had articles published. When the interviewer saw my articles, I was offered a writing job instead of a sales one. The job as a writer suited me better so I took it. That wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken those extras with me.
4 Make sure you know the way to the interview venue.
The day of the interview is not the time to start asking for directions and risk getting there late. Speaking of being punctual, it is important to over-estimate the amount of time it will take you to get to the interview venue. If you have done a dry-run and practised getting to the venue a few days before and it took you an hour, consider leaving home an extra 30 minutes earlier just in case there are any nasty surprises (like traffic, you leaving your wallet at home and having to go back to get it etc) that day. You will already be nervous about the interview so getting there late as a result of not preparing properly will only make you feel worse. It’s better to be early than late.
5 Look your best
This involves doing some research as well. Find out what people in the company you’ll be interviewing at wear to work. Even in the same industry, what people wear to their various offices can vary. For example, in the financial industry, wearing a suit is pretty much expected but if you find out that people in the company you’ll be interviewing at generally wear navy blue suits, you should wear one too. It would show you went out of your way and could be a plus for you. You just never know.
Job interviews are always nerve-wracking but these tips should help you be better prepared and make you feel more confident during the process. Good luck!
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