JUST THE JOB: Three interview tips that will stand you in good stead
All that build-up; the worrying if you have done the right preparation; the self-doubt as you contemplate the magnificence of other (often imagined) candidates; the self-consciousness on the day; and then lights, camera, action and it’s all over before you know it.
I see interviews as an unreliable primary method of selecting candidates, but, to coin a phrase, we are where we are, so it’s best to approach them as thoroughly as we can. Here are three tips to make your next interview better:
1. You really do need to know a lot about the job and the company. Yes, you must transmit your relevant experience, training, attributes and so on – but you must also let the panel know how all of that will be useful in the role you’re chasing.
They really get interested in you when you make it clear to them that you understand the job in a deep way – and that you have really started to figure out the important parts of the role where you can bring value.
Don’t wait to be asked ‘what do you know about us?’ or ‘what do you know about this role?’ From early on in the interview, let them know what you can do for them – not in a conceited way, but, in a self-confident manner.
They need to know where you will fit in and what benefits will accrue from hiring you. Knowing your true strengths is not arrogance.
It’s your job to let them see all of that. You can only do that if you’ve figured out the job fully – talk to people working there or who worked there previously, read the job spec until your eyes hurt and get to the heart of the matter.
2. Remember that you are not delivering a command performance at the Palace Theatre. Avoid putting on a show.
Rather, resolve to be as natural as you can while still remaining professional. Talk in language you understand: seek not the dubious delights of industry jargon you feel you should know or overly wrought sentences that almost choke you as they endeavour to quit the confines of your mouth (see what I did there…)
If you’ve prepared well, you should be relaxed and confident enough to do this. Be real. They’ll prefer you that way. And you’ll sustain it too, whereas the stage performance style is likely to come crumbling down at some point.
3. Understand that it’s not all about you. They’ve arguably got a bigger problem than you. One false move by them, resulting in a dodgy appointment and their own necks could be on the line. If you don’t get the job, you can go for another one next week.
I don’t mean to be flippant at a time of economic uncertainty, but the point here is to take the pressure off yourself. Avoid excessive introspection. In that room, you’re all adults. Behave like one: engage them in conversation, ask them questions and dispel any sense of you standing in front of a firing squad.
When you turn the camera outward, and look at the actual role and the concerns of the people seeking to fill it, you will be able to chat away at a level close to normal. A good interview clears away formality and becomes a knowledgeable conversation: aim for that.
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