Most people think they know how to perform well in an interview. Most people are wrong. Being a good interviewee is a difficult skill to master, and preparation is important to be successful (and avoiding situations like the one pictured). Here are some of the basics of preparing for an interview.
1. Know the position and company you are applying for
Having a sound understanding of the job you are applying for will make it easier for you to illustrate how your skills match what the company is looking for. It also allows you to ask more questions and show your understanding of the job and what they do. Do your research and the interview will flow much more smoothly.
2. Be comfortable talking to another person
Talking directly to another person one-on-one in a formal setting can feel unnatural. Practice talking to yourself in the mirror, to friends, to relatives or even your pets, making sure to maintain eye contact. Being comfortable will allow you and the interviewer to be more engaged, get through more conversation (allowing the interviewer to make a better decision), and make the experience less stressful.
A good technique to use is the SOLER model – sit Square, Open your posture, Lean forward (slightly), make Eye contact (without staring), and Relax. This is a comfortable, yet formal presentation which encourages an open conversation - the key to any successful interview.
3. Be organised
Being organised is the best way to reduce much of the stress involved with an interview. Pack everything you need to take with you the day before – maybe even going as far as laying out your clothes on your bed. Plan ahead, know where you’re going and what you need to do when you get there, and give yourself plenty of extra time in case of traffic or travel delays. Reducing these other stresses will allow you to think much more clearly, and focus on being yourself in the interview.
The company would not be interviewing you unless they were serious about hiring you. Reflect on why they would want you to work for them – be positive, yet realistic. Knowing your value is important so that you can show your full potential and what you could bring to their workplace. Be ready to talk about your experiences.
A good framework to use is STAR – Situation, Task, Actions and Results. Be clear and specific when using this model to answer behavioural & situational questions. The best indicator of future performance is past performance, so focusing on what you have achieved previously gives a prospective employer confidence that you would be the right person for the job.
Interviews are never easy, but with the right preparation and enough practice, it can be the difference between securing your dream job, and making the same mistakes at another interview a month later.