Can you make it through the job interview?

The Job Interview can be one of the most nerve wracking activities one has to go through. There you are sitting in front of two, possibly three individuals looking at you, asking questions and testing you. Writing down your response to the questions they ask with poker faces and the occasional smile to ‘set you at ease.’

How do you handle such a situation? What do you say and do in a job interview? How can you come out of the interview with shining colours and, most importantly, impress the panel enough to get the job?

Here are some dos and don’ts that can help you with that stressful time.

1. Don’t be late. Tardiness is unforgivable and being late will place an immediate strike against you. Start out well in advance to ensure you arrive on time if not before. It is better to be 15 or 30 minutes early than two minutes late. Always allow enough time for such unforeseen activities as traffic jams, accidents etc.

2. Come prepared. You are going to be asked questions. Have the answers ready rehearsed. ‘But I don’t know the questions yet’ You say! Well there are basic questions everyone is asked. For example you might get questions such as:

“Tell me about yourself.”
“What are your failings or bad faults?”

Make sure you know what you are going to say about yourself before you step into the room. Write it down and commit it to memory so that when I you say it appears natural and not read or stilted. Also keep it professional. They are not interested in your social life or how many Facebook friends you have (unless they ask you) so keep it short and succinct. By asking those questions BEFORE you go for the interview you will have the answers ready.

“What do you know about (the company)?”

Study up on the company first, so you can talk about it and demonstrate you have done your homework and are interested in the company. Knowing the companies Mission Statement and what they do can count for a lot. Study enough and you can know more than the interviewer(s). That can be very impressive.

3. Dressing right. This means dress appropriately for the position you are going for. If it is an office position then a suit for a man and smart professional clothes for a woman. No jeans or hot pants, unless that is what the job calls for. If you are going for a pole dancing position hot pants might be more appropriate. On a building site jeans would likely be expected. Shoes should be clean and polished. A clean and presentable appearance comes in here also. Hair and body clean.

4. During the interview pay attention. This means not answering or playing with your phone. Remain focused on the interviewer(s) and pay attention to the questions. Looks bad if the interviewer has to keep asking you the same question because your attention is far far away in another galaxy.

5. Communications should be professional at all times. No “Gidday mate!” The interviewer is not your mate. Unless instructed otherwise address them as Mr or Mrs whatever their name is. In Australia it is more common to use first names.

6. One very vital and important point is to ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH. This does not mean you have to tell everything or volunteer reams of information about yourself. Just that when you are asked a question you give the exact truth. You can omit information that you feel will not help your cause of course.

7. Being critical of your former or current boss. It is bad policy to bad mouth your current or former bosses. This will be seen as a strike against you as it is considered likely you will do the same in the new position should you get it. If you have nothing good to say about your current or former bosses say nothing.

8. Don’t be modest. Be proud and confident. This does not mean be arrogant of course. A confident calm manner means arrogance hands down. Answering questions without fumbling or too many ers and ums where you answer straight away and clearly and succinctly.

9. As hard as it may sound Be Yourself. Adopt a carefree relaxed frame of mind. As ferocious as they may seem the interviewers are not going to eat you. They are there because they have to be there and are anxious to complete the job and get back to what they usually do. Remember it is just as stressful for them as it is for you. Adopt the attitude that YOU are interviewing them.

10. Lastly at the end of the interview you will often be asked if you have any questions. Make sure you do! Ask questions about the company. ‘Where will they be in five years timer?’ is a good example and many interviewers will not know the answer and will be mightily impressed. Have a set of two or three questions ready to ask before you set foot in the interview room.

And do well! Remember, you can do anything you decide to do.