How To Prepare For A Job Interview
Are you trying to get a job, but have no idea how to handle an interview? Job interviews can be nerve-racking, especially if you haven’t had much experience. Get better prepared with these tips below.
This can help if:
- you’re looking for a job
- you’re nervous about job interviews
- you’ve never had a job interview before.
Do research on the company and the position you applied for
When a company calls you to invite you for an interview, always ask which company they are from and what position it was for. We understand that many jobseekers apply for many jobs, and that you might get lost in all the applications. However, when you are showing up at an interview and you actually have no idea what it is for, it might come across as not interested and not serious, and will definitely not give you a good chance to get the job.
Dress to impress
What you wear to a job interview makes a strong first impression – good or bad! Don’t panic, you don’t need to buy a suit if you’re after a job driving trucks. Just make sure you have an outfit that is neat, simple and conservative. Avoid see-through clothes, jeans with rips, hoodies, exercise clothes, thongs and sneakers. Neatly tie back long hair and make sure that you and your clothes are clean.
Arriving late to an interview implies that you’ll arrive late to work, so it’s important to get there on time. Look up on Google Maps beforehand where your interview is, and plan how you’ll get there. Aim to arrive 15 minutes early, and then actually tell the receptionist you’re there 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment.
Just a FYI, there is such a thing as being too early! You don’t want to be the person that shows up 45 minutes before your interview. The person interviewing you has set aside time in their schedule to meet with you, and you don’t want them to feel pressured because you showed up so early!
Know your questions (and answers!)
Prepare to answer questions about yourself, your work experience and what you’re good at. Be sure to refer to your skills and experience at a previous job or volunteer work. Is this your first job? No problem, talk about your studies at school, and work experience or informal work you have done instead.
You might be asked to identify some of your weaknesses. To answer this question, mention something small that you aren’t great at, and explain how you are improving in this area. For example, you might tell them you’re not very good at spelling, but that you always check your work carefully for errors. There’s no need to mention your weaknesses unless you’re asked about them.
Many employers ask behavioural based questions during interviews. These are questions about what you have done in the past in a given situation. Your answer is used to predict what you will do in the future in the same or similar circumstances. For example:
"Tell me about a time when you saw an unsafe situation at work and what did you do?"
You should be prepared to answer these types of questions with examples from your own experience. Concentrate on explaining the situation, the task, the action you took and the result. An example of behavioural based questions can be found here.
Be confident, keep cool
If you’re not feeling confident, try to fake it! Shake your interviewer’s hand, smile and make eye contact. The way you present yourself shows that you’ll feel comfortable talking to future co-workers and customers. Remember not to talk too fast. It’s normal to do when you’re nervous but try to talk at the same speed you would to a family member or friend. If your interviewer offers you a glass of water, take it! If you’re feeling nervous your mouth can get dry and having a glass of water helps you stop and compose yourself if you need to gather your thoughts.
Practice, practice, practice
The best way to feel relaxed and confident is to practice answering questions and talking about yourself. Try to rope in a family member or friend to help you out and pretend they’re the interviewer.
Practice is good but don’t overdo it! Try to take your mind off of the interview the night before, to give yourself a break and allow yourself to relax. Perhaps you can go out to dinner with a friend, or watch a movie and hit the sack early.