Don’t let a Job Interview Unnerve you

Emphasize your strengths on your resume, in your cover letters and in your interviews. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people simply list everything they’ve ever done. Convey your passion and link your strengths to measurable results. Employers and interviewers love concrete data”.Marcus Buckingham

The quote states in a few sentences how it is possible to crack a job interview and get that ‘coveted’ job. We understand, and anyone who has attended job interviews understands too, that these interviews can be stressful and unnerving even for the most seasoned professional. Most people find it really hard to ‘sell’ themselves especially when the questions are most likely unexpected and unfamiliar. Going in to meet and speak with a prospective employer and to top it the person is a stranger and not understanding how to impress people you meet for the first time can be highly taxing and trigger panic. The good news however is that learning how to conduct oneself in a job interview is something that can be learned, making you more confident to ‘come out with flying colours’ in the toughest of job interview.

So what do you think are the steps to prepare and perform well at job interviews? A friend – a recruiter – seemed to have aced this so called horrifying experience. She held several jobs in her long career and as part of these jobs was also responsible for taking many job interviews. Given her experience, we enlist some tips she offered. Straight from an expert!

Let’s start with the prospective interviewer. In all probability this person or persons are people who have several other job responsibilities apart from conducting interviews. This means that they are also probably really stressed and hope to find ‘the right catch’ each time they interview. That essentially means that both you and the interviewer are on the same team – it would help if you brushed up your skills and went to this job interview with complete preparation. You could be ‘exactly what the interviewer is looking for’!

When preparing for your much awaited job interview ensure that first and foremost you focus on success – see yourself being triumphant. When attending a job interview it is an absolute must that you do your share of the research – know some key features, products, history, who’s who and such information – about the company. You will come across as bright, intelligent and genuinely interested working in the company. Such knowledge has been proven to be highly impressive as it displays pro-activeness and initiative. There is no dearth of information over the internet about companies and it would be in your best interest to use this data well.

Ensure that you understand what the job will entail – check back on the job account provided. You don’t want to sound silly not knowing what is expected of you on the job and yet there you are giving a job interview. You could ask your job consultant to clarify or get clarity for you, on any terms or requirements mentioned that you don’t understand. Give your resume a good read since you must be thorough with whatever you have put down on it – think of any supporting incidents and projects to substantiate any claims you may have made. For example – if you have put down project management as a skill – ensure that you have at least a couple of successful projects to mention that you lead or were a part of. As the quote above mentions – concrete data is always more convincing that just words. In addition, remember that a job interview is your time to ‘beat your drum’ about how good you are at what you do and how you would use your skills and knowledge for the success of the prospective company. Don’t shy away from mentioning any innovative and creative ideas you may have given that led to advantages for your current company and other such interesting ‘insights’ that will show the interviewer that they cannot find a better match to the job than you.

There is a lot of help on the internet about the ‘common’ questions that interviewers ask. Remain confident of your abilities and shortcomings. One of the favourite questions – especially in customer service and service sectors – seems to be “what do you consider to your strengths and weaknesses”? Many people get stumped at this question. How do you expect the interviewer to know who you are and why they should hire you, if you don’t know about yourself? Take time to practice and rehearse such questions so that you are completely in control of the job interview from the word go.

The most critical things to remember on the day of the job interview, is to never be late. Even if you have a very good reason it will not reflect well, since as discussed the interviewers probably have a lot more to do and even more interviews lined up in a schedule and they would not be happy to accommodate one person’s timing issues. It is best to reach at least 15 minutes before the interview time – too much earlier would make you seem desperate or not having anything else to do. The first person you would meet is probably the person at the reception. Many people tend to show these people an attitude and give off a rather snooty air. This will not bode well for you – being polite and smiling cordially at the person behind the desk will ensure that you make an ally for yourself to start with. They are extremely helpful in ensuring that your interview is not delayed, that you feel comfortable by offering you water or even a beverage. With soothed nerves, you have a better chance of cracking that job interview. Remain patient and if you have been courteous to the person at the reception, you will not need to continually check if your interview is getting delayed – the person will make sure you know and will help to expedite it for you.

Dress to spell professionalism and being confident. Tight fitting, jarring and or casual attire will block you off in the mind of the interviewer even before you utter a word. The attire must not detract from your personality and neither must it be distracting for the interviewer. Remember to wear a light perfume and keep the make-up minimalistic (for the women!). You are there for a professional interaction – not a fashion show.

In the 30-40 minutes of the job interview, trust us, the world will continue to function without you. So it is safe to keep your phone in your bag either switched off or on vibration. A ringing phone can be very distracting and highly vexing to the interviewer. You don’t want to lessen your chances by appearing disrespectful to the then most important person in your career.

If you have been asked to carry a copy of your resume and an extra photograph, ensure that you do. The interviewer may have been unable to print out your resume and it would just save time to carry all that you need with you.

When you do meet the interview ensure that you smile and shake their hand firmly and graciously accept an apology if the interview did get delayed. Be yourself – don’t try to impress by using fancy words or slangs or even answers that you have decided to rehearse such that they appear so.  This does not impress interviewers – they expect people to show them who they really are – not pretending to be.

In the interview too, remain honest and clear in what you say. If there is something that you do not know or are unaware of, it is best to admit to it rather than trying to appear knowledgeable – this won’t escape the notice of the interviewer.

Throughout the job interview maintain a professional stance, keep reasonable eye contact and don’t forget to smile – all these have a highly energizing and positive effect on the interviewer. On completion of the job interview, remember to shake the hand of the interview and thank them for their time. It is also highly advisable to send a thank you note – either as an email or even a text message. It is just polite and an acknowledgement of the time spent by the interviewer to give you a fair shot at getting the job you want.

These are just some tips and while giving a job interview could be stressful it does not need to be terrifying – some amount of planning will see you through.

Learn about a new approach to better customer service!

Interactive Guides for Superior Customer Service

Create interactive decision trees for customer service management, cold call scripts or self-service. Improve sales performance metrics and customer delight across your call centers.

Interactive Decision Tree