Great job securing that interview! At this point, you must be incredibly elated and your heart is racing. After all, you did beat many others to come this far. According to an ERE survey in 2013, each corporate job position attracts more than 250 applicants, but only 4 to 6 actually are granted an interview. But before you get ahead of yourself, remember that your job application battle is only half-won – the greatest challenge lies before you.
How to prepare for a job interview
Now comes the question: Where do I start? Most of us would hurry online to read interview tips from various job portals, but the information is widely scattered across the web, and different sites may offer different advice. Well, you’re in luck for we have consolidated a short list of the most important tips to note.
1. Research, research, and more research
Sun Tzu – “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.“
It is important to find out as much as you can about the company you are applying to, as well as the job position. Employers can tell if you are keen on the job and are interested in the industry by assessing the amount of preparation you have done for the interview. Furthermore, your knowledge of the company and what they are expecting from their employees will allow you to structure your responses in a way that resonates with your interviewers.
Key Takeaways: Beyond basic facts, take note of the company’s culture, values, and norms. This will help you with your interview preparation and dress code.
2. First impressions are important
Although we are always told not to judge a book by its cover, unfortunately, employers judge candidates by their attire and bearing all the time. According to a survey done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 73% of respondents indicated that grooming had a strong influence on their opinion of the candidate. In other words, if there are two equally capable candidates, employers tend to favour the one who dresses better. The research that you have done earlier will help you in deciding on the appropriate attire.
Key Takeaways: Prepare your attire in accordance with the company’s norms. Try to have your attire prepared a few days before to avoid any last minute mishaps.
3. Prepare for tough questions
Benjamin Franklin – ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.‘
It is important to prepare good answers to questions that the employer is likely to ask you. For example, employers are almost certain to ask you for a quick self-introduction or even a quick run through of your past working experiences stated in your resume. A clear and confident reply will show that you are prepared for the interview. This list of possible questions can be used for other job interviews as well, so why not take some time to reflect? A great starting point would be to think deeply about your strengths, weaknesses, passions and so on. You can also prepare a list of achievements and skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for so that you will have content to discuss during the interview.
Key Takeaways: Prepare and rehearse your answers. It helps to prepare a story to narrate an experience or elaborate on your strengths.
4. During the interview: body language
An interview isn’t only about the dialogue between you and the interviewers. Non-verbal communication is equally important in supplementing your message and there are 3 components which you should take note of:
(1) Gestures – Gestures are great for emphasising a certain point or when you are elaborating on an experience. However, everything should be done in moderation. Having too many gestures will result in you looking fidgety and less credible.
(2) Posture – Sit comfortably, do not slouch or lean forward. Slouching conveys disinterest and leaning forward makes you look overly enthusiastic.
(3) Eye contact – While speaking during an interview, look at your interviewer, and try to avoid letting your eyes wander off. It can make you appear bored or uncomfortable.
Appropriate body language conveys confidence and can go a long way in creating a good impression.
Key Takeaways: A great way to practice your body language is to have a friend video your interview practice, or by practicing in front of a mirror. Pay close attention to your gestures, posture and eye contact.
5. Demonstrate interest
Interviewers will ask if you have any further questions for them. This is the perfect opportunity to display how interested you are in the job and reinforce the good impressions they already have of you. A great way to build rapport with your interviewer would be to ask what they like most about the company. It is also important to avoid asking materialistic questions such as questions about salary. This might sour their opinion of you, which is presumably not how you want to be remembered.
Key Takeaways: Building rapport with your interviewers will cement their good impressions of you. Avoid asking materialistic questions.
6. Set yourself up for success
Some of us find ourselves lacking confidence, and a good way to boost your confidence before an interview is to pose like a superhero. In one of the most viewed TED Talks ever, Amy Cudly discusses how power posing can help one increase confidence. When our body language is confident and open, other people respond in kind, unconsciously reinforcing not only their perception of us but also our perception of ourselves. To simply put it, adopting expansive postures causes people to feel more powerful.
Key Takeaways: Performing the “Wonder Woman” power pose is simple. Just stand with your legs shoulder width apart, hands on your hips and raise your chin. Hold the pose for 30 seconds and feel the power!
Good luck for your interview!
Sleep early, rest well and don’t forget to practice with our tips! All the best!
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