I usually get very nervous for interviews and spend hours before the time preparing: trying to answer questions I think they might ask me, deciding what to wear, and thinking up numerous scenarios in my head. I am someone who hates to be unprepared for something and believe that practice makes perfect!
So before we start our journey's in to the world of dreaded job interviews, here are a couple of tips to remember:
Research the company's profile and background:
Start by looking into their future goals and plans; conducting the interview with this in mind will make you seem like a good long-term investment. You should also be ready to talk in depth about the industry, the organisation, their clients, and the position you are applying for. Use the company's website, their annual report, and newspaper/business magazine articles to gather as much information as possible.
Participating actively during the interview gives a good impression of your level of interest in the job. It's a good idea to come prepared with at least three thought-provoking questions to ask your interviewer. (Avoid asking anything that could be easily answered through a quick internet search, or you will simply come across as lazy.) Ask questions that reflect your interest in future prospects; ask questions to bond with the interviewer and project your enthusiasm; and ask questions about what is discussed during the interview itself.
Anticipate questions from the interviewer:
It’s best to prepare for a wide variety of questions by thinking about your own career goals, long-term plans, past successes, and work strengths, but you should also brace yourself for the deceptively simple questions that most employers like to throw at their interviewees. These include:
"What is your biggest weakness?"
"Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Why do you want this job?"
"Why did you leave your last job?"
If you have a friend who is also preparing for an interview, consider preparing together. Not only will this give you a way to structure your preparation, but it will also help you get comfortable with giving answers, telling anecdotes, and using appropriate terminology. Practice giving concise, complete answers and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer(s) while you give them. Make sure you aren't speaking too slow or too fast and that your answers are stated with confidence.
Dress for the interview:
Show up in the best possible shape:
Make sure you know exactly how to get there and just where to park so that you can arrive 15 to 20 minutes before the scheduled interview time. Go to bed early the day (or the days) before the interview so that you look rested and healthy on the big day. Bring an extra copy of your CV and/or references, in case your interviewer wants to go over any points with you or neglects to bring their own copy.
Lastly, be calm and think of it as a meeting or discussion. Remember, if you got as far as getting the interview in the first place, they must see something in you that they really like. The rest is up to the impression you make so always pay special attention to first impressions - they last!