After dozens of applications and weeks of waiting, receiving an email offering you an interview is an awesome feeling. Shortly after, however, this elation turns to dread as you think about what the interview is going to be like and whether you will say the correct thing. Here are some tips professional career coaches give to anyone preparing for an interview.
1.) Trust yourself and be confident: They chose you, out of the hundreds of resumes they received, for a reason. Knowing that your potential employer values what you are bringing to the table is extremely important and will allow you to be confident. This ties into the second point.
2.) Highlight your strengths and your weaknesses: No one is perfect. If they were then they wouldn’t be reading this blog post. While it is crucial to highlight your strengths, it is often more important to highlight your weaknesses. A lot of the time, candidates will highlight their strengths first and either ignore their weaknesses, which leaves the interviewer assuming the worst, or they finish with their weaknesses. It is actually beneficial to lead with your weaknesses and finish with your strengths. There is a lot of research showing that if we share a vulnerability or weakness (a real weakness not something like, “I could get to work earlier”) then the interviewer will see this as a sign of friendliness and trust and will like you more. This also allows your strengths to be the last thing of the interviewers mind AND appear stronger when compared to your weaknesses.
3.) Know about the company: It isn’t required to know every aspect of every part of the company where you are interviewing and it is actually a good idea to ask questions about what the role you are applying for specifically entails, but you should know what the company is good at, what their core principles are, who the leadership is and any information you can find on the team you are applying to join. This is a simple thing to do, but will make you look very prepared.
4.) Think of your posture and voice: If this is an in person interview be cognizant of how you are sitting. Ideally you want to be upright, attentive, and still (stillness conveys confidence and intelligence). When you are speaking make sure you are projecting and you are making eye contact with the interviewer. These are small changes that will really help how your interviewer remembers you: engaged vs. bored.
5.) Relax: While a little cliche, this is an important tip. In the grand scheme of your life, this interview is small and although you should prepare and maybe be a little nervous, don’t let it overwhelm you, because that will show and probably cause you to make mistakes. Make sure to breath and relax before starting and just share your best self!
These are some quick tips to remember when preparing for an interview. It is also important to remember that, even if the interview is a failure, it is a great practice opportunity and will make you more prepared for the next one.