Congratulations! You’ve scored a job interview. I can only imagine how excited you were to hear the news—although, it’s very possible that initial excitement is now overshadowed by your nerves. Because now’s the time to prepare for the interview and then actually attend said interview. While there’s no foolproof guide for becoming a dream candidate and nailing that interview, there are a few proactive steps you can take to make it the best experience possible. So if you’re feeling a little nervous, or could simply use some advice, follow these six tips to master your job interview:
1) Research the prospective job and company.
Once you score that job interview, the first thing you should do is research the company and familiarize yourself with the job description of the position you’re applying for. People tend to do one or the other, but they rarely recognize the importance of doing both. The whole point of this interview is for the employer to gauge whether or not you’re a good fit for the job and for the company—as well as for you to decide whether the job and company suits you. So do your research and first decide if you truly want to move forward with this company; then, if the answer is yes, ready yourself to demonstrate why you’re a great candidate.
2) Know your expertise and experience well.
When I scored my first job interview out of college, I didn’t think it necessary to study my resume as my older brother recommended. I mean it’s me, why would I have to study myself? I already know everything I could need to know… right? Wrong. Job interviews are designed to measure your qualifications as well as your personality, your morals, your likeability, and so on. To do so successfully, interviewers will likely throw curveball questions, as well as dig deeper into your initial responses. So while you may be able to give an in-depth description of what you did last summer at your internship, have you thought about how it’s prepared you for your future career? Are you prepared to tell them how it was challenging, yet rewarding? Really dive into your expertise, your experience, your qualifications—and get to know them even better.
3) Practice, practice, practice.
And then practice some more! One of my professors in college dedicated a few weeks of class to teaching us everything we needed to know about the job interview process. I was initially thankful for the opportunity, but when she told us that it was time for mock interviews, I panicked. At the time, practicing with my classmates sounded like a nightmare—I just knew I’d embarrass myself. But when the day finally came and went, I knew how important those mock interviews would prove to be. They allowed me to really practice the role as interviewee and also understand the role of interviewer. I ultimately felt much more comfortable about the interview process and prepared to take on real interviews in the future. And I promise practicing will do the same for you!
4) Set yourself up to have a good day.
Okay, so: you’ve studied up on the company and the job position you’ve applied for, you know your expertise and qualifications like the back of your hand, and you’ve practiced a ton! Well done. Now, the day of your interview has finally come, and you want to further ensure it goes exceptionally well. What better way to do so than to simply set out to have a great day? Decide that you’re going to have an exceptional day and then make it happen. Get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before, and wake up with a cup of your favorite coffee. Hit the gym or do yoga to keep your mind at ease. Engage in positive thinking patterns, such as, “I’m going to nail this interview,” and, “All that matters, is I try my best.” And head to your interview with a smile on your face.
5) Communicate confidence.
Because you’re as prepared as can be for this interview, you shouldn’t be too nervous—but that probably isn’t the case. Interviews are nerve-racking, regardless of whether you are or aren’t ready for it. Still, it’s important you at least allude confidence once you step into the interview. Swallow those pesky nerves and introduce yourself with a firm handshake and direct eye contact. Do your best to refrain from slouching in your seat and engaging in other low-power poses. Furthermore, tap into that inner confidence as the interview goes on. Realize that you can do this and that the interview doesn’t have to be feared.
6) Be yourself.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for nailing that job interview: be unapologetically you. As mentioned earlier, the point of the interview is for both you and the interviewer to decide if this is a good match. Therefore, it’s important that you be yourself and not who you think the job requires or desires you to be. If you mold into something you’re not, you may create an undesirable and unfortunate situation for both you and the employer. Furthermore, an interview may pick up on your lack of authenticity, which will surely result in an unfavorable outcome.