We all worry about things that can go wrong before an interview.
“What if I can’t answer a question?” “What if I answer incorrectly?” Or sometimes the most nerve-wracking of all; “What if the interviewer doesn’t like me or think I can do a good enough job?”
Pre-interview jitters are natural and are the often the result of feeling like you’re not (or won’t be) in control. Feeling confident and in control comes from preparation and practise, which will help you perfect your ability to think on your feet and take control of the situation. One of the key things to recognise is that the interviewer is human, so it’s all about sparking something off for them in the interview, whether it’s a shared opinion, interesting viewpoint or simply displaying passion.
Having helped women through the interview process on numerous occasions, here are some of my top tips to enable you ace that interview.
1) Remember that YOU can drive an interview (to an extent). You cannot control the interviewer, but you can lead the conversation to go in a particular direction. Mentally holding onto this thought instils a degree of empowerment.
2) Think of it more as a conversation, as opposed to someone testing and probing you. The more you can offer a more relaxed and in control demeanour, the more likely you are going to be able to establish a relationship.
3) In fact, it’s all about relationships! The person interviewing you is human and at the end of the day, most likely to be driven by emotions. Connect with them on a human level, whether that is through holding eye contact or finding a common area of interest; always google the person you’re meeting before the interview and know something about them.
4) What will they remember about you? You want to leave the interview having left an impression. Craft this story before you go into an interview. What is the one thing that you want the interviewer to write about you on the feedback form?
5) Remember that a thoughtful answer is always preferred over one that is fluffy and covering up that you don’t know your stuff. If you don’t know, say you don’t know and ask for a bit of time to think about it – or explain your thinking clearly and concisely.
6) Be opinionated and offer your thoughts even if they aren’t always mainstream or what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Use your judgement; what you say shouldn’t be offensive or personal. Do not let the interviewer come away thinking that you are arrogant and a ‘know-it-all’. No one wants to work with someone like that.
7) Imagine the job is yours until you get rejected. Go in with this attitude! Own your answers and own the interview.
About the author
Teresa Song is an Academic & Career Coach based in London and Surrey. A former investment banker, Teresa has lived in four different countries and has been working with clients on their careers for more than a decade. As an Career Coach Teresa helps prepare you for interviews, get ahead in your job and build confidence. To get in touch visit: https://www.teresasong.co.uk/.