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Most people would cite going for job interviews as one of the most stressful things they have to do. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You will feel more confident going for a job vital to you if you have prepared thoroughly beforehand.
Interviewers are far more likely to be impressed by a knowledgeable person who appears to be in control. Here are some ways to help you get ready, both practically and psychologically.
You’ll feel more in control if you have all the general information you need. You’d be surprised how many people — out of carelessness or sheer nerves — can get the place, time or interview date wrong because they’re so busy worrying about how they will perform. Other details you will need to know are how you get there, how long it will take you door-to-door (always remembering to leave extra time in case of delays) and the name of the person you need to ask for when you get there.
Analyze the role
Every job advertised will have its own specific requirements and will ask for a particular type of skillset. You need to study what your potential employers are looking for so that, when it comes to an interview, you will have ways to demonstrate that you have what they are looking for.
For example, if you’re going for a sales role, there is no point in showing how good you are at writing. You need to tailor your responses in line with what the employer wants. In this case, you should give examples of your people skills or how well you perform under pressure.
Know the sector
Even if the job you are going for is not the dream job you want to do forever, you still need to have a good grasp of the industry sector to impress the interview panel with your knowledge and enthusiasm. Look up market reports to find out about the latest trends, technological advances, regulatory issues and so on.
Research the company
Find out as much as possible about the company you hope to join beforehand. For example, how long have they been established? Have they recently made any significant investments? Who are some of their major clients? Do they have branches overseas? Who will be interviewing you and what part do they play in the company? Showing an interest in the company will help to communicate your enthusiasm to the interview panel; they are more likely to show enthusiasm for you.
Bring necessary documents
Even though you will typically have submitted a copy of your CV in your application, you should still bring it to the interview – preferably in a professional-looking folder. Make sure you also bring any other documents that might be relevant. Depending on the job, this might include professional qualifications, papers or articles you’ve published, or newspaper clippings from events you’ve helped to organize. Anything that can help you to stand out as an individual will help to stack the odds in your favor.
You must ensure you arrive on time: lateness will damage your chances. If you have a bit of a distance to travel, book a taxi the night before, and secure it for slightly earlier than you need to allow for delays. If you book a cab, you don’t have to worry about driving or rushing to catch public transport, leaving you free to make any last-minute preparations.
Lastly, make sure you’re mentally prepared. If you’re the kind of person who gets very nervous before interviews (and you’re certainly not alone!), practice breathing techniques while waiting outside the interview room. Go to bed early the night before to ensure you’re alert for the next day, and try to do some exercise as well beforehand. This has been shown to help relax you, help you get a better night’s sleep, and boost your mood.
Going for an important job interview can bring out the nerves in even the most confident person. But if you prepare adequately beforehand, you will feel a lot more comfortable on the day.