Do you find job interviews intimidating, especially in today’s ‘global financial crisis’ when everyone seems to be losing – and looking for – jobs?
Did you know that most employers complain about not being able to find the right people with the right attitude? Sad, but true! Even though there are more applicants than ever, the ones who shine are few and far between. This means someone like you (that you’re reading a personal development site puts you miles ahead of most of your competition) can ace interviews with a little forethought and consideration.
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First of all, take your focus off yourself. Consider what it must be like for the interviewer, and give some thought to what might stand out for them. Learn about the company you are interviewing with so you can ask at least one intelligent question (as in, ‘I’ve heard about the ‘x’ project – that must be exciting! Can you tell me a little more about it?’ vs. ‘How much does this job pay and how much vacation do I get?’). It’s shocking how many people go into interviews only thinking about themselves, and it comes across as very selfish. Not only that, by thinking about your own needs you make yourself more nervous because you are maintaining your focus inward. You can’t listen effectively and you cannot hold an intelligent, meaningful conversation, which is what a GOOD job interview really is.
Second and very important, dress for the job you want. Another startling statistic we hear from employers frequently is how slovenly and careless their interviewees are. Do enough research to know what the successful people at your prospective company look like, and dress like that where at all possible. Look sharp and make sure there are no glaring issues with your wardrobe, hair and general appearance. Before you leave in the morning for your job interview, look at yourself from all angles to be sure everything looks ship-shape. Try this article for further advice in this regard: Dressing for Career Success.
With respect to both your resume and your interview, be honest. Getting caught in a lie, or even exaggerating, and having to explain yourself can backfire for all but the most charming among us.
If you do get caught with anything that leaves you tongue-tied, again honesty is the best policy and can be disarming. For instance, if you think you messed up a question or didn’t represent yourself properly, being up front will almost always work in your favor. Better to say ‘I’m sorry, I’d like to answer that last question again. The truth is I’m really nervous because I think you have a great company here and I really want this opportunity – I think we’d be a great fit,’ than to say nothing and worry yourself to sleep at night wishing you’d said something different.
Some last thoughts: be punctual, be respectful and remember to smile. Try and relax and just be yourself – always the best advice.