Interviews are tough. The pressure of being in a formal setting, facing your potential boss and talking about yourself can all lead to interview anxiety. Feeling nervous leads to mistakes in what you say, do and how you act. Before you know it, the interviewer is unimpressed, and you’ve failed the interview.
This article teaches you how to relax and impress during interviews. Its ideal for anyone – whether this is your first interview or one of many.
Confidence begins at home
Before you’ve even met your interviewer, there’s plenty you can do to give the right impression.
At home, prepare what to wear in advance. Research the company – is it corporate, trendy or public sector? This will have an impact on what you wear. Ensure your outfit is clean and ironed, and don’t forget about your hair! Keep it neat with a haircut or tied up.
Aim to arrive early to your interview. Plan your route carefully, taking into consideration rush hour traffic and public transport delays. Also, ensure you don’t bring too much with you. Bring a smart bag with any paperwork necessary for the interview. Don’t arrive with a tonne of clutter!
Make a good first impression when you arrive. If there’s a receptionist there, be careful – they’re often asked their opinion of you too. Keep your body language positive by smiling, standing tall and moving confidently. Be direct in your speech, make eye contact and shake hands.
Show ‘em your best side
Try to relax in the interview. It’s easier said than done but remember this company are interested in hiring you. They obviously think you are worth the risk, so have confidence in your abilities, take some deep breaths and show them your best side.
Don’t criticise past employers, be rude to the interviewer or get defensive. And don’t be arrogant. Talk about your achievements but stay humble. You aren’t simply ‘the best’ person for the job – you’re the best due to your skills, experience and qualifications.
Secondly, interviewers don’t like long silences, so spend time before the interview to ensure your skillset fits the job requirements and specification. And ensure you can talk about your strengths and weaknesses, stand-out achievements and interests outside work.
Another way to impress the employer is with plenty of enthusiasm. Again, research the company beforehand to learn its mission, what it does and achievements. If you can, try to chat with the interviewer about their role. This will flatter them and relax the tone of the interview.
However, don’t suck up to the interviewer too much. Possessing a relaxed confidence will work much better than being over-eager. Prepare for the interview questions, stay positive, show interest and remember that they want to see your best qualities. Remember to keep your posture upright, maintain eye-contact and flash that smile!
Done and dusted?
Once the interview is over, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief and go home (or to the pub!) But you need to keep your interview mindset for a few hours more.
At the end of the interview, its wise to ask when a hiring decision is likely to made. You should also take your interviewer’s contact details or ask who you need to follow up with. This is because its very good practice to send an email after the interview.
Your follow up email should thank the interviewer (or HR) for the interview and summarise why you’re a good fit for the job and company. Keep it short and friendly – don’t waffle. Again, don’t be arrogant or over-keen. Just keep things polite, short and sweet.
Overall, interviews are about preparation. If you turn up late, know nothing about the company, can’t talk about your skills and give off a negative vibe, you won’t get hired. Similarly, if your body language is all wrong, the interviewer will detect nerves and assume you can’t handle the job. By being prepared, you’ll actually gain the confidence you need to ace the interview.
Written by Stephanie Rowe, Content Manager at Knowledge Train®, an accredited project management training company based in London. Company website: www.knowledgetrain.co.uk