Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Take control of those first-interview nerves

You’re nearing graduation and have lined up a number of job interviews. It’s understandable that you’re nervous, but don’t let those pesky butterflies stop you from showing your interviewers that you’re the right candidate for the job. Be prepared and stay focused so you can tackle those interviews with confidence.

1. Know the role

Make sure you fully understand the context of the role for which you’re interviewing. This knowledge not only puts you at an advantage for the interview, but also demonstrates that you’re interested in this specific job – not just any job.

With this in mind, do the following:
  • Research the company. Get a handle on what the company does, how long it’s been doing it, what the company culture is like and what its values are.
  • Research your interviewer and the hiring manager. A trusty Google search and LinkedIn are great places to start.
  • Read any materials your interviewer may have provided, such as the job description or information on company structure.
  • Research the industry as a whole and the company’s competitors.

2. Find out about the interview process

Learn as much as you can in advance. How many rounds of interviews is the company conducting? Who will you meet throughout the process? Will you have to undertake any tests? If you’re working with a recruiter, a good one will provide this information immediately. If not, don’t be afraid to ask for more information so you can eliminate as many surprises as possible.

3. Prepare answers to likely questions

Most entry-level interviews focus on similar themes. It’s a good idea to give some thought to how you’d respond to the following:
  • Tell me about yourself: This is a starter question aimed at relaxing you and getting you talking. Make sure you use it to focus in on the things you want to say.
  • Why did you choose your field of study? The interviewer will be looking for your passion and commitment to your chosen field.
  • Tell me about some work you’ve completed in this field: This question gauges your textbook and practical knowledge. If you haven’t had the opportunity to work in your field, get proactive and seek out an opportunity. Whether volunteered or paid work, this experience will speak volumes to potential employers.

4. Have questions of your own

With the research you’ve done, you should be able to ask some questions that demonstrate a greater depth of understanding of the company and the industry.

5. Take a deep breath

On interview day, take your time answering questions – don’t panic if there’s a short silence between the question and your answer. Also, make sure you’re answering the right question. If you don’t understand what they’re looking for, ask the interviewer to repeat or clarify the question.

The interview process isn’t just about whether the company is comfortable with you as an employee. It’s also your opportunity to understand whether the job and company are right for you.


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