Interviews can be hell if you’re shy, lacking in self-confidence or uncertain about meeting new people. Good preparation and groundwork will help you to keep your nerves under control.
Preparation: Begin to prepare as soon as you’re invited for an interview. Re-familiarise yourself with your CV and career highlights; thoroughly research the company and its competitors; approach networking contacts if it’s appropriate and make sure you go through the job spec if you have one.
Questions: Begin to think about some of the common interview questions to expect in relation to the job you’re applying for. Books and apps like What Colour is Your Parachute or Interview Buzz Pro might be helpful if you’re unsure about where to start. What about the questions you’d like to ask?
Notes: Write out your responses to the likely questions you’ll be asked. Learn any stats related to your role, like budgets or client revenue generated. List the personal qualities that make you good at your job and make a note of examples to support the points you want to convey.
Rehearsal: Role play with a friend, practice in the mirror, chat out loud to yourself or use an interactive app like Interview Questions Q & A. The more you repeat your lines the easier it will be to make your point clearly and confidently on the day. It may feel excruciating at first, but give it go.
Visualisation: Surround the process with positivity. Remember how pleased you were to get offered the interview. Imagine yourself walking into the office and sitting at your desk. Think about how much you would enjoy the job and keep that positive feeling with you.
Image: Looking the part is important. Try to wear an outfit that is in-line with the dress code of the company and always err towards formal and professional. First impressions really do count – how you initially look will stick in the mind of the hiring manager. Make time to do the obvious stuff like getting a haircut and shining your shoes.
Perspective: It’s a two-way process. You need to find out if you want to work for the company, and they want to know if you’ll be the right fit for them. You may leave thinking you don’t want to work for them anyway, in which case you’ve lost nothing. If the interview doesn’t go to plan, put it behind you. It was only a chat.
Sleep: All the prep is done and you’re confident about your message. You need to be fresh, so get an early night. To promote good sleep, specialists recommend cutting out caffeine before bed, swapping coffee for herbal tea, avoiding sugar and using aromatherapy drops like lavender.
Remember: Stay calm beforehand - take deep breaths to help. Make your hand shake firm and confident. Maintain eye-contact with your interviewer and listen carefully to each question. Be succinct – don’t ramble. Smile.
The Works specialise in placing high flyers in PR and corporate communications. We have a strong track record of placing with professional services and offer career-making advice. Do get in touch if you would like our support building your team.