Soon you will be bidding goodbye to university life, and you best believe that the “real” world won’t be all roses. Aside from getting your finances in order, you will also need to get a job. This means sending out resumes and acing interviews until you find the right role for you. While interviews can be nerve-wracking, we’ve come up with a handy guide to help you master any interview you may have in the near feature.
Just like in university, you’ll need lots of research to ace your interview. This means researching about the company you’re planning to join, such as what their vision and mission is, what they do, who works there, and who their clients are. Pay attention to its culture as well; companies want employees who’ll fit into their culture, and they’re likely to ask how you’ll fit into theirs. Suffice to say, continue sharpening those research skills.
Get rid of pre-interview jitters
Being nervous before an interview is normal, but it can keep you from performing well. While you can counter this with meticulous preparation, self-care — such as getting an adequate amount of sleep — is just as crucial. Not only does it give you more energy, but Parsley Health notes it reduces brain fog, which makes it easier to concentrate. This way, you will be at your best physically and mentally for the big day. Exercising also releases chemicals that rejuvenates both your mind and body, so try doing a morning exercise the day of your interview (and every day as well!) to start the day off right.
Make a great first impression
First impressions matter, and a Monster report notes that job candidates typically have 6 minutes to make a good one. Having said that, the way you present yourself, the small talk you initiate, and the way you describe yourself will determine the kind of impression you will make. To make sure this first impression is positive, aim to be perceived as trustworthy and likable. You can ensure this by listening more and talking less, extending praise, deflecting attention, choosing your words judiciously, and being humble and honest.
Be on time
Another way to make a good impression: Be on time. A Business Matters list of interview tips details how turning up on time is an indicator of reliability. Being late, on the other hand, creates a negative impression. As such, you’ll need to know days beforehand how to get to your interview location, and plan alternatives in case you encounter delays. If you practice punctuality in everything you do, being on time will become second nature.
Prepare for common interview questions
No one can predict all the questions an interviewer will ask. There are, however, common questions that will make their way to your own interview. Some of these common interview questions recruiters typically ask include those about salary (e.g. “How much is your expected salary?”), problem-solving skills (e.g. “How did you handle a problem you recently encountered?”), and career accomplishments (e.g. “What accomplishment are you most proud of?”). Chances are you will encounter these types of questions in your interview. So, it’s good to have some ready answers (and rehearse them so it shows you have already thought ahead).
Formulate your own questions
A common mistake interviewees make: not asking questions. Interviewers will give you opportunities to ask your own questions, and you are expected to ask away. But as The Cut claims in an article on preparing for interviews, you shouldn’t take this time as an opportunity to impress your interviewer. Instead, you should use this time to find out more about the job and if you are a fit for it. For instance, you can ask, “What are the biggest challenges of this position?” or, “How is success measured for this position?” These are the kinds of questions you’ll need to formulate.
Practice for the interview
Finally, you can actually practice interviews. Find someone to help you out so you can better simulate a proper interview. In this way, you can find out how you’d respond to various scenarios. Rehearsing will also help you deal with stress, think on your feet, and boost your self-confidence. Consider dressing the part, too, as trying out your clothes is a way to make sure that they fit well, are in order, and are ready for your big day.
Kelsey Smith is a career consultant who likes to write in her spare time. When she isn’t working or writing, you can find her baking up a storm (particularly cookies) at home.