How to Smash a Job Interview

Sweaty palms, racing heart and a swarm of butterflies soaring in the pit of your stomach – sound familiar?

Interviews scare us all, whether it is an apprehensive feeling that lingers during the day or a full-blown panic attack that awakens us during the night. However, there are ways to significantly diminish fear and magnify confidence.  If you effectively convince the interviewer that you have the right qualifications, experience and skills then you are sure on your way to receive an offer. This can be achieved through research and preparation. 

Here are steps you can take to increase your chances of a successful interview: 

  1. Arrive fifteen minutes early. This comforts your nerves and allows you to mentally prepare for the interview. Most importantly, it indicates to the interviewer that you are a punctual and organised individual, essential qualities that they are seeking.
  1. Prepare answers beforehand. Common themes appear in nearly all interviews. For example, interviewers love to touch upon the skills one possess. It is always useful to recognise three of your top skills instantly so that the answer will flow naturally when asked in an interview. 
  1. Conduct a mock interview with a family member, friend or a professional you are currently working with. This will enlighten you on what to expect on the actual day and prepare you with ways to deal with it. You’ll cross paths with your strengths and weaknesses which enables self-improvement and reduces high levels of anxiety. 
  1. Keep in the mind that the interviewer is not a monster. When we are under examination of any sort then we often create a mental image of the assessor as demanding, harsh and with one goal to accomplish – to make your life a misery. The chances are that the interviewer reviewed your CV and is impressed with your work ethic so far. They want you to ace the interview. They believe in you. They are on your side. 
  1. Research about the job. It is highly beneficial to attend the interview with a good knowledge base about the profession. Visit the company website and learn basic facts about what they do. 
  1. Dress smartly. Interviewers will not hesitate in rejecting you because of a sloppy, messy and unprofessional attire. First impressions count. The interviewer will respect an interviewee if they are dressed in a professional manner as it shows that they are serious about the job.
  1. Pause and think. Sometimes you may be thrown off guard by a question or two with absolutely no idea for a response. It is perfectly normal to gather your thoughts together and take a moment to form the excellent answer you are capable of giving. Embrace the silence. 
  1. End the interview with a follow-up question. The interviewer is likely to ask, ‘So, do you have any further questions?’ And the answer should always be yes. This leaves a positive impression that you are an interested and motivated candidate that desires to obtain the job. 
  1. Believe in yourself! Have confidence in your abilities and be certain that you are a unique individual who can bring something incredible to the table.
  1. Be yourself. It does not help you or the interviewer if you hide behind a false persona. We are led to believe that transforming into a mechanical robot will boost our chances of securing a job. In reality, we must harness our human qualities in a way where we can remain true to who we are. If you are a cheerful and bubbly individual, elements of these qualities can be brought out and admired. You can smile and engage in a two-way conversation that is both professional and interesting. If you are a quiet individual, do not worry. Observation and reflection are also two praiseworthy skills you can show off.

With the right preparation and positive attitude, you can certainly smash your job interview. 

Post by Dilveen Ashtey

Dilveen is a Student of Psychology at St Mary’s University

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