Copyright Nim Gholkar 2016 All Rights Reserved
For many, the mere thought of going in for a job interview is about as painful as waiting in a dentist’s chair to get a toothache fixed. While it’s natural to worry about how you’ll perform during an interview, it’s equally important to think about what to do before and after one as well. Which is why, this post is divided into 3 parts: BEFORE the interview, DURING the interview and AFTER the interview.
BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
Don’t assume you know enough about the company you’re applying to. Visit the company’s website and become familiar with its history, values and location. Has the company been in the news or media lately? I always look up who’s heading the company and mention that somewhere during the interview if the opportunity arises. This reflects not only that you’re keen for the role but also that you’ve done your homework.
If you know someone who’s currently working at the company, have an informal chat about their experiences so as to get a well-rounded perspective.
Think about some typical questions that usually crop up in many interviews and possible responses. Some of the most common questions are: a) How would you describe yourself? b) What’s the one thing you’d like to improve in yourself? c) Tell us a good reason why we should hire you? d) Why did you leave your previous job?
On the interview day, arrive approx. 15 minutes early. If you happen to arrive really early, wait outside the building or in your car. Greet the receptionist cheerfully on arrival. It’s a good idea to start making a good impression straight away 🙂
While waiting to be called in, avoid rehearsing your answers. I’ve often seen candidates mutter under their breath as they practise their responses. This kind of last-minute frenzy will only make you more nervous and your answers sound orchestrated.
DURING AN INTERVIEW
One of the biggest reasons for ‘interview anxiety’ is viewing it as a performance. The best way to get over this performance paranoia is to remind yourself that the interview is as much about ‘you’ finding the perfect fit as the company.
Minimise distractions by switching off your mobile phone or keeping it on ‘silent’
Be aware of your body language during the interview. Shake hands with the interviewer and sit down only after the interviewer has invited you to take a seat. In order to appear attentive and interested, lean in slightly. Avoid slouching or sitting with your legs outstretched.
Smiling is very important as it instantly creates a positive rapport with the interviewer.
Focus 100% on the question being asked. Sometimes, candidates let their minds wander, worrying about how they’re going to respond and in the process, miss hearing the entire question. This leads to confused and irrelevant responses. If you don’t understand what’s asked, don’t be afraid to request clarification. You could say: ‘Do you mind expanding on it?’ If you don’t know the answer, don’t fake it in the hope of getting it right. Be honest and say ‘I don’t have the answer to that but I’ll come back to you on that one.’ Not knowing an answer isn’t a crime. The willingness to learn where to look for the answer is more important.
When tossing up between two possible responses, forget the ‘safe’ option and go with your instinct instead. Your competitors are most likely opting for the safe answers too so your best chance of standing out from the crowd is to be original and speak from the heart.
If asked about your past employers, always speak positively. Even if your experience was less than perfect, making derogatory comments is seen as unprofessional.
AFTER AN INTERVIEW
Within 24 hours of the interview, send off a thank-you email to your interviewer and express your strong interest in the role. By re-establishing contact, you can ensure your interviewers don’t forget you. This is especially important if you’re one of the first few in a long line to have been interviewed.
To avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, don’t apply to just one company at a time. If your application is rejected, you would lose out on valuable time. Short-list a few companies you’d like to work for, look up suitable job vacancies on their website and approach them all.
These are the strategies I’ve picked up over time after having lived in Australia for the past 20 years and worked in various different roles. Hope you find them useful.
Love, Nim x