The interview is, for most people, the most nerve-wracking part of the whole job application process. Everything you’ve done from contacting the employer through to carefully filling in the application form has been geared towards this moment yet, when it finally arrives, you almost wish it hadn’t.
But, if you prepare properly, think logically, speak clearly and sound interested in the job, the interview can actually be an interesting and relatively pleasant experience – really, it can! So, what is the key to turning a stomach-turning moment into a positive step towards getting your name in the frame for the job of your choice?
There are three main processes which you need to master. These are:
- Be prepared
- Be lucid
- Be interested
You’ve heard of the ’3 R’s? Well, here are the 3 B’s. What about confidence, you might ask? Well, if you master these, you will be confident but, that’s getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s look at each of these three skills and see how we can improve your performance.
Being prepared is a simple matter of spending time on the internet researching what the company does and how they do it. Find out about their training programs, their career options, any current vacancies, the company’s latest achievements, key personnel etc. You need to go into the interview living and breathing the company. Not only will it make you feel confident, it will also impress the interviewer. If memorising is a problem, then write down notes (keep them very brief – mnemonic style) and take them in with you so that you can refer to them. Why shouldn’t you take in some written questions? Do you think the interviewer has memorised all of theirs? No way.
Being lucid is about learning to talk clearly. It is an acquired skill and not one many people are born with but you don’t need to sign up for voice projection lessons to make a big difference. All you need is a microphone, a computer and a bit of effort.
Place the microphone on the desk and press ‘record’. Slowly saying the letters of the alphabet, move steadily away from the computer, noting where you end up in the room. When you’ve got to ‘Z’, replay the audio file and see where you became completely inaudible. Now, pick up a book or magazine, press ‘record’ again and return to that point in the room and speak slowly and clearly. Keep speaking slower and louder and replaying the file until the words cease to be unintelligible. Now speak like that in the interview.
Finally, be interested in your new employer. Using your research about the company, ask intelligent questions and don’t be afraid to turn the interview around by asking the interviewer things like
- “How long have you been with the company?”
- “What’s it like working for the company?”
- “What’s the best thing about working for this company?
… and so forth.
- Keep your head up, your eyes on the interviewer, let them see you’ve thought about the job, and communicate clearly at all times.
Now you’ve taken control of the interview, what is there to dread about it?