So, your resume and cover letter got you through the initial application phases, and you have been invited for an interview. Now you need to prepare.
No matter if you are an entry level applicant hunting for your first job, or you are a seasoned industry veteran looking for a career move and a new challenge, interviews are always exciting and nerve-racking. It is a make or break moment, a small window of opportunity that could determine your future, for the next couple years at least.
Preparation is key, so let’s take a look at some of the areas you can focus on to improve your interview skills prior to the big day.
Getting to the interview
It’s essential that you’re not late to the interview, this is, by far, the worst initial impression you can offer. Do a test run to the office in the days prior to the interview, making sure you don’t get lost and make sure you have plenty of cash on you in case you need an emergency taxi.
Dress to impress, do a little research into the company culture and keep it formal, but don’t overdo it. Make it a priority to turn off your phone as soon as you get to the interviewing offices, making sure there’s no chance of it ringing during the interview.
Practice your answers
Make sure you know your resume word-for-word. It is natural that you are nervous and that you might stumble a bit on some answers but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be confident when discussing your professional history. Develop answers to questions surrounding past projects and achievements mentioned, can you expand on the detail? Define ways in which the experiences allowed you to develop certain skills?
Communication is key
Be mindful of the age and technological gap between you and your recruiters, especially if you are applying in companies within some “traditional” industries such as law. You should avoid using slang and ensure that you vocalize and verbalize everything you want to say clearly and loud enough. Retain a professional attitude, listen carefully and pay attention to what your recruiters are saying and asking you.
Prepare some questions
Questions are a great tool for you to use in the interview. Yes, it is you who is being interviewed but the last part is most often reserved for your questions. You can show here that you are really interested in the company that you are applying for by asking about an ongoing project or further possibilities for professional education should you be selected. At the very least be sure to ask when can you expect feedback on how you did and if there will be any more rounds of selection.
Preparation prior to the interview date will increase your confidence, calm your nerves and increase the chance of success.