Job interviews are stressful; most of us are not sales people and yet, in order to secure a job, we have to sell ourselves. Selling our skills is something we can learn how to do and a key to this is to be proactive. Proactive means to anticipate potential problems and difficulties and much of this can be achieved through preparation and organisation. Think about your selling points and what makes you the best candidate for the job. You need to match your skills to the job expectations and to be aware of the philosophy and vision of the company. You must also be prepared for the common mistakes people make in interviews.
Many people believe you should boast and over emphasis your abilities, still others think you should remain composed; they are both wrong. Be assertive not aggressive, find a middle way between boasting and passivity. The interviewer has only around thirty minutes to decide if you are the person for the job. In this time you need to stress your key strengths and relevant past achievements. At the right moments in the conversation, take the lead and steer the interview in the direction you want. Ask a question about the job and after the interviewer has replied, answer yourself, linking your strengths and achievements. Reflect your qualities back to the job you are applying for. Employers are not so interested that this is a good opportunity for you but, rather, how your competencies are tailor made for their job offer.
Try to put yourself in your interviewer’s shoes and ascertain what he or she is looking for in a perfect candidate. Interview your interviewer and ask why he or she enjoys working at the company. This switches the emphasis away from you and gives you a chance to find out more about the workplace. The ability to ask good thoughtful questions shows your motivation to add value to the company.
First impressions are important, so dress to impress. It is better to be too smart than too casual. Be likeable and enthusiastic; don’t moan about your old boss, be positive about this new company. Body language too plays its part; maintain eye contact and give a firm confident handshake. Mirror how the interviewer sits and don’t cross your arms. Try to find a common ground between the two of you. In order to break the ice the interviewer may ask some trivial questions about the weather or traffic.
Give more than “yes” or “no” answers but don’t talk for too long either.
In these times of recession, there is even more pressure to succeed. It can be difficult to remain calm and confident so plan to arrive at your interview 10 to 15 minutes early. This will give you time to relax but remember to be pleasant and respectful to staff you meet. The interviewer may ask the opinion of everyone who has interacted with you, so don’t make loud mobile phone calls, constantly text or play games. Take the time to review your materials. Everyone feels nervous and self conscious before an interview but try not to think too much about it. Breathe deeply and think positively, visualise someone you love and take that image with you into the interview.