The interview brings about a strange contradiction; it is a potentially nerve wracking scenario that requires you to be, or at the very least appear to be, confident. Nerves are natural; they are the body’s way of sharpening your reflexes and heightening your focus.
A candidate who is NOT nervous is either not sufficiently bothered about securing the role or just has genuine nerves of steel. Welcome nervousness as a necessary part of the interview process and turn your attention to controlling how any nerves come across.
“Actions speak louder than words” is a phrase that has stood the test of time because it is so true. Body language is the basis of how you appear as a candidate; if how you act mismatches what you say, or what you say you have done, it does not come across well.
It is also one of the easiest aspects of the interview to control if you know how to do so. First of all, smile, be grateful that someone has given you their time and the opportunity to be chosen for the role; you would not be there if you were not a suitable candidate.
Go for the handshake and maintain a healthy balance of eye-contact; too much and you’re insane, too little and you’re disinterested.
With regards to eye-contact it can often be helpful to break it when you think about a reply or a particular word choice and re-engage as you deliver your response adding both weight to the response and freedom to your thought.
Consider the Interviewer
It is always important to consider the position of the person who is conducting your interview. They too have been through your current situation numerous times, they have faced both success and rejection and, most importantly, they are looking for the ideal candidate; they are not looking to catch you out here.
Relish the chance to demonstrate what your strengths are and how your services could benefit a given system.
Also, remember that the interviewer is a human too; if they ask you how you are, answer and return the question, show an interest in their wellbeing and exhibit yourself as a person as well as a candidate.
It is likely that a number of interviews are scheduled for that day so make the day easier for them, ensure that your responses are succinct and relevant, bring any requested or useful resources along with you, and arrive at LEAST fifteen minutes early because lateness is not an option at this point.
Do your Research
Obviously you will have some degree of knowledge about the interviewing company, that is a given. What I am suggesting here is that you go into more detail about the role you are applying for.
Know your responsibilities inside out and go beyond them, find the tasks that are implied and think about how your skill set would suit them.
Even if you do find that your interview doesn’t go as well as you would have liked, a well-informed candidate stands out and has clearly taken the time to go beyond what is expected and will therefore stand out to a perspective employer.
Now this doesn’t mean taking random facts about the company and reeling them off, it is a case of being informed about how the company operates and communicating accordingly to that.
How you present yourself during an interview says a lot about your character. Someone who is well groomed, appropriately dressed and has good personal hygiene comes across as well informed, organised and enthusiastic.
As a general rule, failing to meet these requirements will reduce the chances of a successful interview.
Make sure that the formality of the dress code matches the formality of the interview; an office management position calls for a nicely tailored suit whereas a more practical role might require something less restrictive.
It is usually fairly obvious what attire is needed for the interview but if you are in any doubt, tend towards more formal wear. If you are "underdressed" you can easily appear disinterested but, when overdressing, you can still come off as enthusiastic.
Be aware of the weather. If you have to walk any sections of the commute, be sure to carry an umbrella if it's raining; most interviewers don't take too kindly to people moistening their furniture in the name of forgotten brollies.
The same thing goes for when it is (occasionally) hot; make sure what you're wearing has removable layers so you do not arrive at the interview covered in sweat as that can be equally off-putting.
If at first you don't succeed, try try, try again is a quote from William Hickson that is essential to the interview process.
So much of taking part in an interview is a learning curve and it really pays to keep this in mind. It is why mock interviews are held so frequently (to good effect) and why feedback is so important to your professional and personal progression.
Admittedly, not securing a job after an interview can be frustrating and disappointing but if you stay mentally positive, learn from mistakes, from experiences and from challenges, you will not be frustrated for very long.
It is important that you request feedback whenever you are unsuccessful with an interview. When you receive it, don't look at it straight away. Immerse yourself in another hobby or activity or just take a day to relax and cool off.
This is because you can digest and absorb feedback more easily once you have distanced yourself from the interview.
You can look at how you can make improvements, amendments and adjustments from an employer’s perspective.
Feedback is an excellently valuable resource should you be willing to take it on and learn from it. However, it will be your desire to learn and develop that will secure your success in the long run.
Will is a 22 year old graduate from the University of Warwick. He likes expensive coffee, Mexican food and David Attenborough documentaries. You can often find Will on a train somewhere but he is at his happiest pretending to be a rock star or watching football at a bar.