It’s perfectly normal to be a little anxious when you’re preparing for a job interview. In fact, many people rank interviewing for a new job with other nerve-wracking activities like public speaking and going to the dentist. There’s a lot riding on your interview performance, so it’s understandable to feel this way.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to better prepare for a job interview.
1. Do Your Homework
Most companies have an online presence, so it should be relatively easy for you to learn about the company. You should also familiarize yourself with the position for which you are interviewing. If possible, print out a copy of the position description and take it with you to the interview. Be sure to bring a few extra copies of your resume in case an interviewer needs a hard copy during the interview.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
Interviewing is a learned skill and the best candidates practice, practice and practice some more to prepare for a job interview.
For college candidates, there may be opportunities through career services to participate in mock interviews. A mock interview is usually conducted by an employer, a career services professional or a professor. Essentially, you will be interviewing for a pretend job. Mock interviews are helpful because they can relieve you of nervousness and the interviewers usually are able to provide some feedback on your interview skills.
For more seasoned candidates, opportunities to prepare for a job interview may also exist with local workforce services offices and career coaches. Another option is to ask a friend or family member to “role play” an interview with you. If you have access to a webcam or video camera, try recording your “performance” and reviewing the areas where you need improvement.
3. Know The Interview Lingo
Many companies are utilizing behavioral interview techniques. Behavioral interviewing requires the job candidate to provide a situation and then describe the task that comprised the situation, the actions that were taken and the result or outcome.
Questions may be posed to you in a format of “tell me about a time when…” or “give me an example of a time when…” This allows you to share previous work (paid or volunteer) or classroom experiences and the interviewer is able to ascertain what you learned from the experience. Many companies prefer to use this interviewing technique because it provides information on a candidate that isn’t likely to be included on a resume.
4. Sell Yourself And Build The Business Case
Candidates should think about the business case of why they should be hired. The interviewer needs to have a compelling reason to extend an offer to a candidate. Job candidates should think about their knowledge, skills and abilities and how these would benefit the organization that is hiring.
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