Q: I have studied a lot of your advice over the years and now I plan to put some of it to good use. Next week I’m going for my first job interview in six years. Could you outline some unlikely tips for people preparing for job interview? These could be a little left of centre, if you know what I mean? (OK, email.)
A: Sometimes, little things can have a huge impact and I am always looking out for the small tweaks that can help through make a good interview great. In no particular order, here are some tips:
- Get off your phone two hours before the interview. We don’t need to be distracted that close to the big moment and if there is one thing phones excel at, it is leading you down rabbit holes that will occupy your attention without doing anything for your preparation. Don’t turn off your phone, though, just in case the HR person needs to inform you of a change in time for the interview or some other relevant detail.
- Aim to have just one piece of paper on your person during that final two hours. At this point you should have distilled your research down to that level. Don’t carry huge amounts of information with you into the waiting room. Like the exam, trust that the work is done.
- This advice is not novel, but I cannot repeat it often enough: research the company. Every day, I hear about people who turn up poorly prepared for the interview in terms of knowing what the company does, where it is coming from and where it’s going. And then they wonder why they don’t get the job…
- Make a real effort to build rapport with everybody you meet. And by that, I mean from once you get into the premises (or online meeting) where the interview is taking place. Apart from the fact that it’s good manners to be nice to people, you never know where you’re talking. There are horror stories to back this up.
- Be careful about whose advice you heed in the run-up to the interview. People will try to tell you that what they experienced in a previous job interview is some class of a universal rule. Interviews vary every time, and you need to be ready to react to what’s in front of you. Your preparation should not create a fixed state of mind; rather it should ensure you are adaptable on the day when something unexpected comes your way. This is why we shouldn’t learn things off going into interview – learning off will create a dependency on something that may not actually come to pass on the day.
- Get them talking. Ask questions that stimulate them and encourage them to tell you more about the company or the job. People like talking. People like being asked to display their knowledge and to articulate why things are the way they are. If you do this in a subtle way, perhaps towards the end of the interview, they will remember you for it: they will recall the mood created in the room during your interview. What’s that saying again? People don’t really remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.
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