Contrary to popular belief, job interviews are not the stuff of nightmares.
Most people and new graduates may imagine job interviews to be hellish combinations of sweating under their collars, being stumped with every other question, and realizing way too late that they have something in their teeth.
Yes, all of this could happen. This horrific scenario will definitely be you on your next job interview – if you’re unprepared.
We’ve listed a few things you can do to make sure the scenario above stays in your nightmares.
Research. This is an obvious first step that some people may completely overlook. Don’t.
Here’s the time to put those internet stalking skills to good use. Know everything there is to know about the company you’re going to be working for. Don’t stop at the company website. Look at their social media accounts, articles written about them, customer reviews, maybe even blogs and social media posts from past and present employees. Take notes and see how you can put the information to good use.
If you know who’s going to be interviewing you, try to search for them as well. Knowing what they look like may make you less nervous, and knowing their interests could help you think of things to talk about if the chance for casual conversation comes up.
There’s no such thing as knowing too much about the job.
Research is also a good way for you to start evaluating how much you really want the job.
2. Think of common questions and answer them.
Think of a few questions you’re sure your interviewer will ask and already think of how you’re going to answer them.
Tell us about yourself. Why did you apply here? Why did you leave your last job? Where do you see yourself in five years? What salary range are you expecting?
Almost all interviewers will ask basic questions like this. Think hard and deep about what you’re going to say. Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a few less things to worry about on the big day.
If you’re not so confident in your conversational skills, practice.
Though there’s totally nothing wrong with being quiet in social situations, in an interview you’ll want to talk. Talking and elaborating versus giving two-sentence answers will give the employer a feel for your personality and your passion. Outside of your resume and your referrals, talking with you is the best way for them to evaluate you as a possible employee so practice if need be.
You can practice with a friend. You can practice in front of a mirror. You can even record yourself speaking and watch it over to see if you have any unconscious habits. Find the way that works for you and do it often before the interview.
4. Prepare for the whole day.
If you’re particularly nervous about your upcoming interview, prepare for the whole day.
Eat a good breakfast, your favorite if you have one. Lay out the clothes that you’re going to wear and think twice, or maybe even thrice, if it’s a good way to present yourself to the company. Print out your resume and other relevant documents. Know how you’re going to get there and know how traffic it could be. Be there early.
Knowing the little details of that day could help you look at it as a normal day to get through and less like a serious ordeal.
5. Find ways to clear your head.
Negative self-talk hits you when you’re most vulnerable – like when you find yourself sitting in the reception area, waiting for your interview.
If you’re feeling particularly anxious before your interview, try to clear your head and focus. Breathing deeply is one way to do it. Another is to focus on the sounds around you, and whenever you feel a negative thought pulling you back with its unloving arms, go back to focusing on the sounds nearest and farthest from you.
Becoming immune to anxiety in stressful situations is a skill. See what strategies work for you and practice.
You’ll have no problem being cool in the hot seat if you’re prepared mentally, emotionally and physically. Think of each interview as a significant gateway to a new learning experience. Who knows, your interview may be your first conversation with a possible colleague.
Do you have your own suggestions? Share them with us and leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.