The majority of people are nervous about attending job interviews
– but nerves can be a useful tool for sharpening up your
performance. However, if your nerves take over to the extent
that they affect your ability to come across well at interview,
it’s clear that you need to calm down. The key to preventing
pre-interview jitters is to prepare thoroughly in advance.
In most cases, you will be notified that
you have got through to the interview stage a few days before
the interview itself. You can use this time to prepare –
and the better prepared you are, the fewer the reasons you
will have to be nervous. Try to find out as much as you can
about your prospective new employer.Visit their web site,
Reference libraries, are good sources of information. You
should also read up on the type of job you are applying for.
Go over the job description thoroughly and note down any questions
you would like to ask at the interview.
It is vital to find out:
||Where the employer is based, ask for landmarks.
||When the interview is to be held – work out how
long it will take you to get there and make sure that
you leave in plenty of time (particularly if you are relying
on public transport);
||Where the interview is taking place – if the employer
occupies a number of rooms in different buildings, it
is easy to end up in the wrong place;
||What your contact is called;
||Who exactly will be interviewing you
Expect the Unexpected
Bear in mind that interviews do vary enormously.
You may be asked to sit a psychometric test or prove that
you have the necessary skills for the job – a typing
test for example. The interview itself may be a quick, informal
chat in a crowded office or it could involve a panel of interviewers
all firing questions at you. There may even be group activities
with other candidates designed to see how well you perform
in a team situation, or you may be called back for a further
interview another day. Often, candidates fail to perform to
the best of their abilities because they are thrown into a
situation they are not expecting. The answer is to expect
the unexpected. You cannot prepare for every eventuality but
you can be aware that the format of the interview may come
as a surprise. Have faith in your own skills and experience
and allow the employer to see you at your very best.
Obviously, no one can know exactly what
questions they will be asked at an interview but there are
certain topics that will almost certainly come up. Think through
your answers to the following questions:
||Tell me about your employment history – what did
you do, what did you enjoy, what were you good at, why
did you leave each job.
||Why have you applied for the job?
||Why do you want to work for our company?
||What can you, above all of the other applicants, bring
to this job?
||What did you do with your time when you were out of
The best way to prepare for interview questions
is naturally to know what they are in advance. There are many
sites that offer sample interview questions, or you can buy
a book. "Great Answers To Tough Interview Questions",
generally considered to be the leading text on the subject.
The Big Day
Make sure that you allow yourself enough
time to get yourself ready and that you have all your exam
certificates, records of achievement, testimonials and anything
else relevant to the job with you. Also remember to take the
letter inviting you to the interview and any maps, etc. that
you might need. Leave in time to arrive 5-10 minutes early
for the interview – this will allow you to gather your
thoughts, go to the toilet, check your appearance, etc. Try
to relax – everyone gets nervous before an interview.
The chances are that you will feel more nervous than you look
and anyway, most interviewers are trained to make allowances
for the fact that you are likely to be somewhat on edge.
important if you are a female candidate)
The majority of job interviews are straightforward
in terms of personal safety but there are a few simple rules
you should always adhere to:
||Always tell someone where you are going
and what time they can expect you back.
||Never agree to be interviewed in a car park or over
lunch, etc. The interview should be held at the organisation’s
own premises or in some other public or official place.
||Always arrange to have someone pick you up if your interview
is taking place outside normal office hours. You should
never let the interviewer drive you home.
The following tips will help you make a
positive first impression
||Shake hands firmly (but not
to they extent that they require first aid!) with all
the interviewers when you first enter the room –
and do try to smile!
||Maintain eye contact whilst answering questions
– and remember to speak up clearly
||Don’t smoke unless you are offered
a cigarette and, even then, it may well be wise to politely
decline the offer
||Try to avoid simple ‘Yes’ and
‘No’ answers to questions even if they seem
appropriate – they tend to be conversation stoppers.
Make sure that you answer questions fully but concisely
- without chattering on unnecessarily.
||Never lie at an interview or say something
that you cannot substantiate, but make sure that you present
yourself in the best possible light
||When you are asked if you have any questions,
use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your interest
and enthusiasm to the interviewer. Begin with questions
about training, who you will be working with, and the
job specification. Save questions about pay and holidays
until the end.
||If you are not asked about something which
you feel illustrates an important aspect of your ability
to do the job then don’t be afraid to bring it up
||Make sure you find out when you can expect
to hear whether you have been successful – it could
be anything from the same day (in which case, you may
be asked to wait around) to a few days.
||Remember to thank the interviewer(s) for their time
before you leave
You should hear one way or the other within
a week or two of the interview taking place, unless they have
specified otherwise. If you do not hear within this time,
telephone to enquire politely whether a decision has been
reached. If you were not successful, try to treat the interview
as a learning experience – nearly everybody gets a few
setbacks when they are job-hunting. Think about why you were
not selected and if there was anything you feel you could
have done differently to improve your chances of getting the
job. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It may simply have
been that there was a better qualified candidate and that,
given your experience and skills, you performed to the best
of your abilities. Indeed, sometimes there is so little to
choose between candidates that success or failure at interview
can simply be down to luck. Above all else,