Handling a job interview can be intimidating. However, with the right strategies, right preparation and mindset, you can tackle it and increase your chances of performing well in your interviews. Staying calm during an interview is important to perform well and make a positive impression on your potential employer Here are some tips to help you overcome fear, stay calm and handle your interview well.
Before the job Interview – preparation :
- Review the job description – Read the job description to thoroughly understand how the employer has described the position and the type of candidate they are looking for. Carefully review the keywords and key phrases the employer uses to describe their expectations. The more you can align your skills and qualifications with the job description, the better chances you stand to impress the interviewer. You may also get some clues from the job description about the questions the interviewer may ask.
- Consider your eligibility for the job – Think about your qualifications and experience. Ask yourself why you are eligible to apply for that job and why the employer should hire you. Assessing how the job fits into your career path and what value you can add to the company helps you convince the interviewer about what makes you the best candidate for the position.
- Before the interview, research the company and the position you are applying for. This will help you understand the company culture, the job responsibilities, and the skills required for the role.
- Practice mock interviews: Prepare responses to common interview questions, such as “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and “Why do you want to work for this company?” Practice your interview skills with a friend or family member. This can help you identify areas where you need to improve and build your confidence.
- Organise your documents – Take a printout of your resume and cover letter. Put all the important documents including your mark sheets, certificates, ID proofs and photographs in a folder. If the HR has asked you to bring any particular documents like salary slips, relieving letter from previous employer or bank statement, be sure to keep them ready as well. Keep your documents well organised in a folder so that you don’t fumble when asked for any of them.
- Update your social media profile – If you are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform, make sure you have an updated profile. Employers often check your social media profile and activities to get an idea about your personality and background. Search for your name in Google to see what results turn up. Avoid anything controversial on your profile.
- Make travel arrangements – Please check directions to interview venue using Google Maps. Based on the distance and the time it would take to commute, plan your timing and mode of transport. Keep contact information of the HR department ready with you just in case you need any help locating the company.
- Positive self-talk: Use positive self-talk to build your confidence. Tell yourself that you are capable, prepared, and qualified for the job. Take some time to visualize yourself succeeding in the interview and winning the job. This positive visualization can help you overcome your fear and increase your confidence.
- Dress appropriately: Dress professionally for the interview. This will show the interviewer that you take the interview seriously and respect the company. Pay attention to personal hygiene as well.
- Deep breathing: Before the interview, take some deep breaths to calm your nerves. This can help you relax and feel more in control.
The job interview venue – prior to the interview :
- Arrive on time: Be punctual for the interview. Arriving late can create a negative impression and cause stress for you. In fact arrive early so that you have time to settle in and calm your nerves.
- While you wait for your turn at the venue, switch off your mobile phone or put it on silent or vibration mode. If you are required to take an urgent call, speak in a soft and low voice.
- Sit patiently in the waiting area. Loitering around in the office would give a negative impression.
- Be polite to the security guard, staff and the receptionist and the fellow candidates. You are under observation right from the moment you enter the venue. The way you hold yourself in the office tells a lot about you. Many companies use CCTV footage to analyse your personality.
The actual interview – how to handle a job interview :
- Be courteous :don’t forget the smile, greetings and thankyous and abide by good manners.
- Be honest : if you do not know the answer to any question the interviewer asks. If you need some time to collect your thoughts, it is fine to pause and ask the interviewer for some time to think.
- Show enthusiasm: Show enthusiasm for the job and the company during the interview. This will demonstrate your passion for the role and make you stand out from other candidates.
- Use positive body language such as sitting up straight, proper use of hands and gestures,making eye contact, and smiling. Exchange a proper handshake where desired. These can help you feel more confident and in control.
- Listen carefully: Pay close attention to the interviewer’s questions and listen carefully to their responses. This will help you stay focused and engaged in the conversation.
- Focus on your breathing: During the interview, if you start feeling anxious, take a moment to focus on your breathing. Take a few deep breaths to calm down.
- Remember that it’s okay to pause if you need a moment to gather your thoughts or think about your response.
- Ask thoughtful questions: Ask questions about the company, the job, and the team during the interview. This shows that you are interested in the role and the company.
After the job interview – the follow up:
- Follow up: After the interview, send a thank-you email to the interviewer/HR. This will show your appreciation for the opportunity and keep you on the interviewer’s radar.
- Analyse your performance – After you come back from the interview, take out a few minutes to analyse how you performed and what areas could have been better. Ask yourself whether you forgot to mention something or whether you could have responded to any particular question in a better way. This goes a long way in improving your interview skills.
- Inform your references – If you have given any references in your CV or in the job application, make sure you inform them so that they are not caught off guard when the HR calls them. Call up your references and tell them about the company and the position you have applied for. Let them know the skills and qualities you would like them to recommend you for.
- Follow up with HR – If you do not get to hear from the company within the expected time, you should follow up with the HR department on the outcome of the interview. You can do so through phone or email. Irrespective of the mode you use, be sure to mention your name, position applied for, interview date, name of the interviewer and other relevant details to help the HR staff recall your meeting.
The five C’s that employers want a candidate to demonstrate are: Capability, and evidence of it, to perform the tasks; Confidence in their own ability; Concern for others and the organisation; Command over the subject matter and situation and people if they have to handle a team; and Communication ability at all levels.
Remember, a job interview is an opportunity to showcase your skills and personality to a potential employer. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with practice and preparation, you can overcome your nerves and make a positive impression on your potential employer.
By following these tips, you can handle job interviews with confidence and increase your chances of landing the job.
You could further check out the “powerful and practical toolkit” for cracking your first job interview from the personal experience shared by our mentor Nabarupa Banerjee in her artricle “ My first ever job interview”