It is ok to feel nervous before and during an interview that’s a good thing! It’s important to control the nerves and harness that energy during the interview process and turn it into something which makes you unstoppable.
We can’t guarantee you will get the job you’re interviewing for however you will be much more likely to get the job if you follow the following tips and unleash your potential.
Let’s break the interview process down into three stages:
- Pre-Interview Stage
- During the Interview
Pre-Interview (Planning Ahead)
The best way to boost your chances of being offered a job is by preparing for the interview. It sounds simple but you’ll be surprised by the number of candidates which stop their preparation after they have submitted their application and do no further prep work when offered an interview.
It’s very clear when people haven’t prepared for the interview as they often trip up on simple predictable questions such as “why do you want to work here?”. Questions like that are designed to be smashed out of the park. Make sure you research the company / organisation by checking their social media feeds, any performance reviews and any research outputs that you can discuss during the interview.
Use a New Type of Development Portfolio
Researching the organisation also gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the organisations culture and interests and to see if you’re a match for them. You should aim to work somewhere because you want to. If you’re values and bliefs align with team you’re applying for you will be able to achieve your poential and drive your career forwards.
Don’t forget to research the interviewers too as this will make them feel more familiar on the day and help settle your nerves. It will also help set your expectations and help you visualise the interview before hand.
“If you’re values and beliefs align with the team you’re applying for you will both be more likely to achieve your full potential.”
Prior to the interview take some time to review the job description and person specification and write how you fit each point with examples. This will help clarify potential questions and direct essential revision and reading before the interview.
One of the best ways to spend your preparation time before an interview is to create some pre-planned answers or sentences to help structure your responses and help you navigate some sticky situations. There are common themes and questions across all interviews regardless of industry.
Common interview questions include:
- “Why did you apply for this position?”
- “Tell us about your career to date”
- “Talk through an article you’ve read recently which has changed your practice”
- “What courses have you been on recently?”
- “Why do you think you’ll be a good fit for the team?”
Remember your answers should be concise and tailored to match the job description. You should aim to create a narrative which enables the employer to picture you doing the job not take them on a meandering story of your life.
During the Interview (Take Your Time & Stay Calm)
If you’ve done the preparation you should be confident in the knowledge that you’re most of the way there. The next step is putting your preparation to good use and staying calm and collected thought, clearly this is easier said than done!
The most important thing to remember in the interview is values and beliefs shine though so be true to your authentic self – don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Keep your answers structured and concise.
If you begin to feel flustered or go off down the wrong track when answering a question rely on the pre-planned answers and sentences to get you back on track. This is something politicians, presenters and people on live TV use a lot when being interviewed as it buys you thinking time and an opportunity to regain composure.
“The most important thing to remember is that values and beliefs shine though so be true to your authentic self”
When answering a question make sure you link to appropriate examples but don’t exaggerate or lie. It’s usually very obvious when someone has overstated the facts and the lie unravels with a simple follow up question and this pretty much puts an end to your chances of getting the job.
If an answer doesn’t go well don’t give up! Regain composure, acknowledge that the previous answer wasn’t your strongest and take note that it’s an area for improvement. Employers often aren’t looking for the finished article they are looking for someone who knows their limitations and has to ability to learn from mistakes.
After The Interview (Always ask for Feedback!)
At the end of the interview there is a chance for you to ask the interviewers a few questions. By asking a few high quality questions this offers you the chance to stand apart from the rest of the candidates. This is often where candidates dry up so try to have some prepared questions here.
Good questions make you appear interested and committed but don’t forget this is your chance to find out if you are a good fit for the organisation and team too. If your struggling with what to ask focus on day-to-day questions about the role as well as about opportunities to grow and progress within the organisation. This is a great time to ask about the overall culture underpinning the teams performance.
“You can improve your interview abilities which is why, regardless of success or failure feedback is essential”
Being interviewed is a complex skill – it’s a combination of communication skills, ability to deal with pressure and organisational ability. This means that you can improve your interview abilities which is why, regardless of success or failure feedback is an essential part of the interview process.
As a final thought an interview is a chance to put yourself in the shop window – you are given a captive time with people who can make things happen. Remember there might be other opportunities the employer sees you as a better fit for that become apparent during your interview.