Nervous about your upcoming job interview? Tame your anxiety with these solid interview tips — and land the job.
Few aspects of adult life are more distressing than the job interview. Something about having to offer up your entire life experience to a stranger for validation makes us feel uneasy. Luckily, you can take certain steps to ensure you present your best self, no matter what position you’re applying for. (Click here to tweet this quote.)
Here are 11 tips on how you can ace your interview.
1. Do your homework
The more you understand about the business — from overall culture, goals and market strategy to specifics regarding recent successes and changes, and everything in between — the more “ready” you’ll appear. Become an expert on the company you want to join, and be able to discuss the business on the interviewer’s level.
2. Ask around
Use social networking sites (such as LinkedIn) to get in touch with former employees who can provide honest and unbiased observations about what the company values and expects from its employees. Any details you can acquire makes you more prepared for the interview itself.
3. Act it out
Role-playing the interview with a friend or associate beforehand will help you anticipate potential problems. By practicing the interaction and getting honest feedback from the person playing the interviewer, you’ll feel more confident when it’s time for the actual interview.
Work on being able to demonstrate relaxed and confident body language — it’s not always what you say; sometimes it’s how you say it.
4. Memorize your resume
Make sure you’ve memorized the pertinent facts and dates of your qualifications. If it’s important enough to include in your resume, it’s important enough to commit to memory.
5. Be prepared
Take a few hours and brainstorm everything that could potentially go wrong in your interview and take whatever steps you need to ensure that if the worst should happen, you’ll still be able to present yourself as calm and confident.
6. Get plenty of sleep beforehand
Caffeine might seem like a good way to keep from yawning during an interview, but there isn’t a substitute for a healthy night’s rest. This might mean going to bed earlier than you’re used to, so plan accordingly.
7. Be on time
Arrive at the interview 10 to 15 minutes early (unless they’ve asked you to arrive early to complete paperwork, in which case you should arrive at least 20 minutes early). If your travel time is less than anticipated, use the extra minutes to review your resume or give your personal appearance one last check.
8. Gather contact information
Politely ask each key player you meet for a business card. This will help you remember their names and make it easier to send personalized thank-you cards after the interviews. If someone doesn’t have a business card handy, ask for their information and write it down in a notebook.
Nervous individuals tend to offer short, uninvolved answers to questions, forcing the other person to do all the work. While being interviewed, provide more information than requested. Be willing to share personal experiences and ask questions of your own.
10. Be ready for the difficult questions
Perhaps the most dreaded interview question is “What is your greatest weakness?” Be ready for this question (and any others) by considering it beforehand. Don’t try to disguise a strength as a weakness (“I’m a perfectionist”) or claim you don’t have any weaknesses (“I can’t think of anything”).
Instead, select a real weakness, but one that won’t be an automatic red flag for your interviewer. Once you’ve decided on something plausible and not too detrimental, follow up with how you’re working on overcoming the weakness.
11. Follow up
Once you’ve finished the interview, you’re not quite done. Send out thank-you notes (on actual stationary, rather than emails) to everyone involved in the process. Don’t be afraid to call the employer — after a reasonable amount of time has passed — and ask if they’ve filled the position.
In sales, 35 percent of new business goes to the vendor who contacts a client first; the same can be said for following up about a job. Showing you’re committed by reaching out to them will, if done right, increase your chances.
If they have hired someone else, thank them for their time and ask for their honest tips on how you could improve for possible future interviews. After all, understanding the interview process is about understanding how to market yourself, and if you’re not selling yourself, you might be selling yourself short.
Lewis Robinson is a business consultant specializing in social media marketing, CRM and sales. He’s begun multiple corporations and currently freelances as a writer and business consultant.