By Alison Doyle
Job interviewing never seems to get any easier - even when you have gone on more interviews than you can count. You are always meeting new people, having to sell yourself and your skills, and often getting the third degree about what you know or don't know. And, you have to stay upbeat and enthusiastic throughout each interview. That said, there are ways to make a job interview much less stressful.
Invest a little time prior to the interview getting ready and it will be much easier to handle. The key to effective interviewing is to project confidence, stay positive, and be able to share examples of your workplace skills and your qualifications for the job. Brush up your communication skills, so you can speak clearly and concisely about the assets you have to offer the employer. With some advance preparation, you'll be able to nail the interview and showcase the experience that makes you the ideal candidate for the company's next new employee.
Here are job interview tips to help prepare you to interview effectively. Proper preparation will help alleviate some of the stress involved in job interviews, and the more you prepare, the more comfortable and successful you will be at interviewing.
1. Practice and Prepare
Practice your responses to the typical job interview questions and answers most employers ask. Think of concrete examples you can use to highlight your skills. The easiest way to do this is to make a list of the job requirements, and match them to your experience. Providing evidence of your successes is a great way to promote your candidacy. Also, have a list of your own questions to ask the employer ready.
2. Research the Company
Do your homework about the employer and the industry so you are ready for the interview question "What do you know about this company?" Try to relate what you have learned about the company when answering questions. Know the interviewer's name, and use it during the job interview. If you're not sure of the name, call and ask prior to the interview. Building rapport and making a personal connection with your interviewer can up your chances of getting hired. People tend to hire candidates they like, and who seem to be a good fit for the company culture.
3. Get Ready Ahead of Time
Don't wait for the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear. When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before. Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note taking.
4. Be On Time (That Means Early)
Be on time for the interview. On time means five to ten minutes early. If need be, take some time to drive to the interview location ahead of time so you know exactly where you are going and how long it will take to get there. Give yourself a few extra minutes to visit the rest room, check your outfit, and calm your nerves. Here's more on preparing for an interview.
5. Try to Stay Calm
During the job interview, try to relax and stay as calm as possible. Remember that your body language says as much about you as your answers to the questions. Proper preparation will allow you to exude confidence. Take a moment to regroup if you need it. Maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Listen to the entire question (active listening) before you answer, and pay attention - you will be embarrassed if you forget the question. Check out these tips for avoiding job interview stress to help keep your nerves calm.
6. Show What You Know
Try to relate what you know about the company when answering questions. When discussing your career accomplishments, match them to what the company is looking for. Use examples from your research when answering questions, “I noticed that when you implemented a new software system last year, your customer satisfaction ratings improved dramatically. I am well versed in the latest technologies from my experience with developing software at ABC, and appreciate a company who strives to be a leader in its industry.” Here's how to make a match between your expertise and the company's requirements.
7. Follow Up
Always follow-up with a thank you note reiterating your interest in the position. You can also include any details you may have forgotten to mention during your interview. If you interview with multiple people send each one a personal note. Send your thank you note (email is fine) within 24 hours of your interview.