Interviews need not necessarily be unpleasant affairs. Your attitude and mind-set while preparing for the job interview, could spell the difference between a crestfallen “I’ve botched it up” and an upbeat “I believe I’ve made it”.
Being well-prepared for a job interview does not happen overnight. Even if you have worthy qualifications and job-appropriate skills, you need to work on several aspects of your personality to stand out. We have listed a few here:
- Build up a healthy sense of self: If your self-esteem is high, you will find yourself more centered, confident and focused throughout the interview. This will reflect in your body language, your ability to make eye contact, the pace and tone of your voice and your overall demeanor. You are more likely to exude self-assurance and stay poised naturally and effortlessly throughout the interview. An experienced interviewer can easily tell the difference between authentic poise and a feigned swagger. Meditation, mindfulness coaching, positive affirmations, self-help books, good company can all inculcate a healthy self-esteem, which normally takes care of the rest.
- Keep your character above board:. Your appearance and responses should always be a reflection of high ideals. This means no lying in your résumé (you will be found out!), no badmouthing previous employers, no fake profiles on social networking sites, no blogs or statements that could show you in a poor light. Yes, you need to keep your corner in “cyberland” not just clean but impeccable. Employers do check your past records on the web too, so don’t post anything that could discredit to your reputation.
- Appearances and impressions: No one can afford to neglect looks and posture in an interview. This means subtle colors, upright posture, good eye contact and excellent communication skills. Your soft skills reveal your emotional intelligence. Today, all good employers place a premium on high EQ. Your preparation might include mastering language skills (take online/night classes, if you must, to hone them) and a well-conceived training plan in personality development. Your responses should come from a position of strength and when you are confident about the way you look and talk, your answers will reflect that confidence.
- Answering questions: If you are not a good listener, become one. This means giving your 100% attention to what is being said. Not only will this spare you the embarrassment of giving the wrong answer, but will also help you to stay in sync with your interviewer. Adjust to what your interviewer expects of you by getting the question right and tuning in to him. It is also helpful to give yourself a moment to pause and think, before speaking. Some more don’ts when it comes to answering questions include – not beating about the bush, sounding indecisive, using unnecessary jargon and talking randomly if you are unsure about the subject.
- What’s your weakness: You need to be prepared for this question. However, the real ‘underlying’ question here is: How have you overcome your weaknesses? Learn to convert your weaknesses into strengths or to present them as relatively irrelevant. If you have chosen your lack of experience with certain software, do be certain to stress your desire to pick up the required skills and mention any trainings you are undertaking to overcome the deficiency. Other difficult questions could relate to lacunae in your résumé. Tackle them with tact and present them as strengths.
- Any questions: Most interviews end with the “any questions” question. You can see this as an opportunity to talk about something you may have missed out through the interview, and your capacity for research. Remember, you are still not in the driver’s seat, so stay modest. But do make it known that you are curious, for instance, about a new marketing strategy (that you have read/come to know about) that your potential employers seem to have adopted.
- Follow-up: A follow-up personalised thank you email to the company for having had the opportunity to interact with your potential employers would be in order and would give you an edge over your competitors who may have missed this common courtesy.
Here is a quick recap of the tips to prepare for that dream job interview:
- If you feel you are lacking in self-esteem, do whatever it takes to brush up on it and practice before the interview.
- Keep your corner clean. Integrity and good character could very well be viewed as your biggest assets.
- Learn to listen.
- Work on improving your soft skills. Cegos can help you here. Do check out our Blended Learning Courses on Personal Development: http://www.cegos.com.sg/blended-learning-2/blended-learning-courses-2/
- Research the company well before applying.
- Practise beforehand with friends and family, or preferably with someone who is well-versed with the industry or organisation, and try to improve as per their feedback.
- Check out the company address beforehand and work out your commute details well in advance. Arrive a little before the interview time to avoid arriving breathless and flustered and to ensure you have a clear head.
- Work on developing your personality. This means being tasteful at all times. Avoid extremes in speech and dress. Both monosyllables and mindless prattle can be signs of lack of knowledge and incapacity to think on your feet. When in doubt over what to wear, choose subtle over bold.
- Take care of your personal grooming. No body odour, unkempt hair, and long and dirty nails. Appear at the job interview clean shaven or with neatly trimmed beard/moustache.
- Drop the habit of fibbing. An honest admission of lack of knowledge is preferable to a glib, but wrong answer.
- Learn to give concise answers.
- Get your figures right. Never sell yourself short. Likewise, do not over exaggerate your current salary.
At the end of the day, it is all about putting your best foot forward. Remember, you HAVE infinite potential. Just let your employers see it…subtly, of course!