Interviews can be a nerve wracking experience. It doesn’t matter how many you do or how confident you are, interviews can leave even the most confident of us feeling a little off our usual rocking M.O.
When it comes to nailing an interview, most of us are across the basics – preparation (knowing the job, company and strategy), great examples (successes, learnings, dreams) and the logistics (a travel, suit, name of the panel). While these basic principles are right and important, these are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ things.
If you really want to nail your next interview, it’s about first up getting two simple things right; (1) your mindset and (2) the connection between you and the interviewer/s.
(1) Get your mindset right
A great, positive mindset is pretty good place to start with most things in life, including a great interview experience. So how do you do this
Get the basics (outlined above) right and then go further. If this is your dream job, or in a new industry/field where you don’t know the rules, do some basic ‘recon’. Things like sitting in the downstairs reception area in the days leading up to the interview to check out the ‘vibe’ of the company. Look out for how people dress, what they are doing and what they are saying.
This insight will give you a greater understanding of the culture and norms of the company. It doesn’t mean you have to replicate what you see, rather it will give you a deeper context to draw from in your interview.
A short word of advice. While there are many things you can do well ‘on the fly’, a great interview is not one of them. Take the time to prep properly and you will exude confidence and ease in your interview in a way that you just can’t fake.
Tell your story
All too often we focus on the ‘performance’ of interviews. A great handshake, good eye contact, word perfect content. The bit we tend forget is the most important – telling your story.
If sharing your story in a genuine way becomes your focus (as opposed to a brilliant performance), you will find a lot of pressure just disappears, and you will get a chance to get out of your own head and just have a ‘great conversation’ about the things that really matter to both you and the interviewer/s.
Think JIT and arrive Just In Time
I will state the obvious because this is a ‘hygiene’ factors that is SO often missed.
Arriving late to an interview is not the absolute end of the world, but it leaves most folks feeling anxious, edgy and often quite sweaty from the mad dash up to reception (trust me, this one is awkward for all of us). Not exactly the right foundation for a great mindset.
I will add the same guidance goes for arriving too early. Do not (I repeat), DO NOT enter the reception area half an hour early and wait (it will leave you feeling anxious and the interviewers feeling annoyed). If you are early, go for a walk, get a coffee or call a friend for some distracting small talk. Then, a few comfortable minutes before the start time, stroll into reception feeling calm and collected with a dry brow and palms.
(2) It’s not really about you (gasp!)
Most of us walking in an interview thinking – “how can I impress”, “how I can I fit this great success story into the interview”, “do I look confident”. While there is nothing wrong with these thoughts, they miss a pretty critical part of the equation – the interviewer/s.
An interview is not just about the candidate rather it is a about a connection between the people involved and everyone having a positive experience. It’s about creating a great feeling of confidence, trust and even a sense of hopefulness about future possibilities. How can this be done?
Build great rapport early in the interview
Start the session with some warm and friendly small talk. Be part of creating a really comfortable, relaxed environment for every person in the room, from the first moment.
Make the interviewers job easy
Like you, the person on the other side of the table is also a human. A human that may be having a great or terrible day. A human that may be rubbish at interviewing people. A human that may be even more nervous than you are.
Don’t walk into an interview expecting someone else to make your experience easy and comfortable. Instead be generous, use your EQ and take joint responsibility for making the interview great. Keep discussion flowing, ask questions, keep your energy up and provide context to your responses. Trust me that this effort will be appreciated and reciprocated.
And there you have it.
The first two simple things that will help you really nail that next interview, including the stuff that rarely seems to be mentioned in Google searches for ‘job interview’ tips.
We can’t wait to see your LinkedIn profile updates as you land your dream role!