by Liberty Stembridge, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 12th April, 2019
Going into an interview unprepared is the worst thing you can do, and yet so many people seem to do it. Why? Self-sabotage. Don't get in the way of yourself, and prep well in advance.
Review some of the standard job interview questions that employers as and practice your responses. Try to hone down your answers to that they are explanatory but concise and highlight your skills.
Make sure you review the job listing and what exactly they are looking for, so you can make sure to include skills that are particularly relevant to this job in your answers.
Be careful not to sound like a tape recording however - the questions your interviewer will be asking you are unlikely to be exactly what you've practiced, so make sure that you're listening well and can adapt your responses on the spot to give the interviewer what they are looking.
The best way to practice this is to get a friend to help you practice.
Lastly, prep some of your own questions for the interviewer, not only does this show them that you have a genuine interest in their company, but it saves you getting caught on the spot and not knowing what to say.
This one's a hard one, and doesn't or can't always happen for everyone, but it's worth a shot and can be very beneficial if it succeeds. Make sure you've done your research beforehand and know the interviewers name, job role etc.
Try to use their name at some point during the job interview. If at any point there are introductions or informal chats, make sure to stay engaged and try your best to remember everyone's names.
If you can, build up a rapport or a personal connection with the interviewer. People are much more likely to hire candidates they feel will fit well into the company.
Back in 2012, Harvard researchers discovered that adopting certain "power poses" could actually increase confidence and help you to perform better in an interview. It works as a kind of "fake it till you make it" situation, wherein if you pose in a powerful or commanding way, your brain in tricked into feeling more powerful and therefore more confident.
Many people sit hunched over their phones before a job interview, trying to distract themselves from their nerves rather than actually deal with them.
This research suggests that instead of doing this, you should find a private area and "power pose" for at least 15 seconds. By raising your arms up into the air and adopting a wide legged stance, almost as if you've just won a race and are lifting the trophy, you're brain instinctually feels more triumphant, and better prepared for an interview.
A common interview question that trips prospective employees up is "what do you know about this company?". You've spent so much time preparing your answers and thinking about yourself, that you've forgotten to look into the company you're actually applying for.
Try to find out what you can about the company's ethos, mission and culture, as well as any major developments they've made recently. You can often find this out by looking at reviews on job hunting websites, or by looking at the company's social media / website.
Might be kind of obvious, but you really don't want to be late for your interview. So rather than aiming to be on time, aim to be early by at least five to ten minutes. This gives you time to prepare and calm yourself down beforehand, sets a good impression, and lowers the risk that getting caught in a morning rush will ruin your shot at the perfect job.
The clothes you wear tell a story about yourself, and so the outfit you pick for an interview should be picked carefully - don't wait till the last minute only to realise that your one blazer is still in the washing machine.
If you're going for an artsy job, it might be okay to get a bit more inventive and show a bit of personality in your outfits, but if you're going for a serious finance role, it might be better to stick with a safe business smart look.
Make sure you're looking your best, and put the effort in to boost your self-confidence, whether that's buying new clothes, getting a haircut - whatever makes you feel good.
Don't forget to pack the essentials for your interview, such as a pen and paper, your portfolio or CV and anything else you might need.
During a job interview, it's important to try and stay as calm as possible. Jittery nerves will translate in your body language and speech and could potentially affect your performance quite significantly.
You want the interviewer to feel confident in your ability to do a good job, and so you need to project your own self-confidence. With a bit of preparation you should be able to help calm some of those pre-interview nerves, but sometimes it can't be helped.
It's normal and natural to feel nervous, particularly if this is a position you really want - but don't let that get in your way.
You can employ some simple body language hacks to help you to appear more confident, even if you don't necessarily feel that way. Try maintaining eye contact with the interviewer, and taking a moment to pause and consider your answers before you rush in.
This gives you time to formulate an answer and shows the interviewer that you're serious about this interview.
You may also want to utilise mindfulness tactics to help you to calm down before and during an interview. Mindfulness is simply the practice of noticing the present moment, and is a very effective way of dealing with nerves.
Deep breathing, meditation and mindful listening can help to improve your performance and increase your confidence.
If you're not sure where to start or you don't have a lot of time, you can use an app like Headspace to get started, which is particularly useful if you're feeling panicky just before your interview, as the "SOS" meditations are designed to help calm you down quickly and effectively.