What’s your first reaction when you get an interview call? Do you jump up with joy or break out into a cold sweat?
Most of us find the thought of an interview to be unnerving. If you feel the same, remember you aren’t alone. Speaking up before complete strangers isn’t easy, even for someone who has the gift of the gab. So, how can you bring your A-game to the table?
Here are some dos and don’ts that you can follow to ace your first job interview:
- Do research: Spend ample time learning about the company to understand its values, vision, and goals. Go through their official website thoroughly to see how they have evolved, how they work, and whether your values and aspirations resonate with theirs. Look for a way to include these in your conversations during the interview. It will show you have a genuine interest in their work.
- Understand your purpose: After researching the company, you need to ask yourself why you want to be a part of the organization. Check if your experiences and dreams are in alignment with the company’s vision. This will help you understand if you can be the right fit for the company.
- Be ready for the unexpected: It’s always better to prepare for the unexpected. Standard interview questions are easy to prepare for, and you can be sure every candidate will do his homework. But, what about unconventional interview formats? These are common during remote interviews. What if you are asked to perform an activity or solve a puzzle during the interview? Asynchronous tests can be interesting and beneficial because the company usually allows you to finish these on your own time. However, they aren’t usually comfortable since you don’t get to talk to an individual face-to-face.
- Do prepare for commonly-asked questions: We all know what the most common questions are during a job interview. It makes sense to prepare for these so that you don’t fumble or hesitate while answering them. For instance, the interviewer will probably want to know why you think this job is right for you, how you envision your future in the company, what you can bring to the table, etc. Having clear and concise answers ready in your head will make you more confident.
- Work on your backstory: You may think you know everything about your work experience thus far, but it’s always advisable to prepare a brief outline in your head. That will help you identify accomplishments and experiences in the past that showcase your capability to qualify for this job. When practicing, make sure to say it out loud to see if it sounds natural. Your speech shouldn’t sound scripted or rehearsed; that will put off the interviewer.
- Be yourself: It’s natural to feel anxious before the interview, but, once you step inside the room, you need to keep your nerves in check and be yourself. That’s the only way to show your true personality. It’s not always important to give the correct answers; it’s more important to tell the interviewer about yourself. Your genuineness should be reflected in your answers, even if they don’t conform to standard responses.
- Don’t sound rehearsed: While you want to be sure you give the right answers to questions, you must understand that it’s better to have talking points. Everyone wants to nail an interview. The result? They end up sounding the same. The conversation is scripted and responses are cliched. It’s more important to engage in a conversation with the interviewer and focus on building a connection with him.
- Ask questions: Most interviewers will encourage you to ask questions at the end of an interview. That sounds scary, right? But, it’s actually the best opportunity you have to show your interest in working with the company. If you have researched the company well in advance, you are likely to come up with out-of-the-box questions that can impress the interviewers.
- Prepare at home: The surest way to ace your first interview is to appear confident. Try practicing at home with your close friends or family members. Make them ask you tricky questions and see if you can handle these. You will benefit from their genuine feedback and advice. You could even capture it on camera and view the recording later to see if you look and feel confident during the mock sessions. If you sound nervous or your body language is shaky, you may need to work on it. If you are speaking too fast or rambling, you may need to slow down.
- Use these guidelines to prepare yourself for your first interview. There’s no guarantee that you will crack it the very first time, but if you keep working on your strengths, you can be confident of landing your dream job sooner than you think!