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Interviews are incredibly intimidating. Even the most confident people sometimes falter when they’re interviewing for their dream job.
No matter what position you’re interviewing for, you shouldn’t fear the interview. With the right preparation and mindset, you’ll master every interview and stand out over other applicants.
It may take a little practice to master these steps, but it’s well worth the time, especially when you find yourself in the perfect job for you.
1. Build Your Confidence
This might sound obvious and may be the main reason you have trouble with interviews. It’s also easier than you might think to fix. Before an interview, take a day or two to start building your confidence for this specific interview. Think of it as becoming your own personal cheerleader.
Start by silencing the negative possibilities in your mind. You do deserve the job and you’re just as qualified as anyone else. Remind yourself of your skill set and why you’d be an asset to any employer. Take some time to breathe and reduce your anxiety. Finally, tell yourself that rejection is normal and not personal. When rejection isn’t the end of the world, it’s not nearly as terrifying of a possibility.
2. Know The Employer And Job
Nothing says unprepared more than not fully understanding the employer and the job itself. Take the time to research the employer to see what they do, what type of clients they work with and a little about their history. Also, carefully read the job listing and research that job title and any listed skills to ensure you’re not caught off guard. It’s impressive to employers when you’ve already taken this initiative.
3. Start Off The Conversation
That awkward moment when you first walk in might make you falter and ruin the rest of the interview. However, make a great first impression by starting off the conversation. Start by asking them about their weekend or ask a question about the company itself. This shows you’re confident and ready to interact comfortably.
4. Ask Your Own Questions
You don’t have to just sit there and answer questions. Employers want you to ask questions too. After all, they want an employee they can build a relationship with. Master any interview by preparing a few questions of your own. Of course, don’t be afraid to jot down a few questions throughout the interview too.
While it’s an older article, Big Interview’s list of 12 questions to ask gives you a great start on preparing your own questions. If you need more inspiration, try The Muse’s list of 51 questions to ask.
5. Research The Interviewer
If you know who will be conducting the interview, do a little research on them too. It helps to know more about their interests and role in the company. You’ll also be more prepared when you meet them, which helps to avoid unnecessary awkwardness. Sadly, this one isn’t always possible, but it’s a great way to feel more confident.
6. Dress And Act The Part
It’s always better to dress nicer than you think is necessary. Dressing professionally is crucial and it does help boost your confidence. Of course, you also have to act the part. This means sitting up straight, smiling when appropriate, maintaining eye contact (it’s okay to blink and look away like you would naturally) and engaging in the conversation. If you seem uninterested in the interview, an employer will look over you no matter how qualified you might be. Act professional and engaging and you will stand out.
7. Take Your Time
An interview isn’t a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you see a dozen other applicants waiting to be interviewed. Carefully think about your responses instead of saying the first thing that comes to mind. A hiring manager doesn’t mind waiting a second or two for you to craft your answer. They also don’t mind taking the time to answer your questions as well. The last thing you want is to leave the interview wishing you had said or asked something you didn’t.
8. Think Like An Employee
You want to show an employer that you’re perfect for the job. Go into the interview as if you’re already in that position. Talk about the skills that are most relevant to that specific job. Provide insight into how you would help the company improve. When you start thinking like an employee, you feel more confident and it’s easier to keep your answers on track. Everything should come down to how you’re the perfect fit with clear explanations as to why.
Once the interview is over, you have two more tasks to really nail the interview. First, ask about next steps, such as when you can expect to hear back. Also, send a thank you for the interviewer’s time.