Whether you have years of professional experience, or are just applying for an entry-level position, going to an interview can be daunting. You may have the education or skills, but you want to make sure that they translate well during the interview process. Below are four easy steps to making sure that you ace your interview, and land the job you want.
Watch Your Body Language
Naturally, people focus on what they’re going to say in their interview. However, your words are not the only way you communicate with people. Try to be aware of the way you are being perceived. Are you clutching your hands too tightly? Are you twitching your feet? These little habits can make you look nervous and less confident. You may have all of the skills and qualifications that the employer is looking for, but a nervous twitch could distract them from what you are actually saying during the interview.
Quick tip: Before the interview, imagine you are in your favorite calm space. Taking a few deep breaths, as well as utilizing this visualization technique will have you feeling more relaxed and less likely to fidget during the interview.
Oftentimes, when people are nervous, they tend to compensate by speaking too much and too quickly. During an interview, you should make a conscious effort to really listen to everything the interviewer is saying. The words that the interviewer chooses to ask their questions can clue you in to the type of candidate they are looking for. This seems like a no-brainer, but many people are not actually aware of the fact that they lack good listening skills. Companies want the whole package– candidates who are skilled, as well as good communicators, and you can’t be a good communicator by doing all of the talking.
Before you answer questions during an interview, take a quick second to pause before you speak. Not only will this will let the question sink in a bit, but it will get you in the habit of making a conscious effort to become a better listener instead of a nervous talker.
Be Truthful, but Know When to Stop
There is a fine line between disclosing information about your past and TMI (too much information). You do want to state the facts, but you don’t have to go into long stories about the gory details. If you left your last place of employment on a negative note, it is okay to say that the company was not a good fit for you and just leave it at that. You definitely do not want to or have to go into great detail about what a terrible person your boss was, or how your company offered terrible benefits. However, under no circumstance should you outright lie about places of employment or make up a skill-set. You can still show yourself in a positive light, as well as speak the truth.
Think about how to frame any possible negative events in your past, in case the question comes up. For best results, write out your answer before the interview and then go through it to make sure you are being truthful without disclosing anything that is inappropriate.
Do Your Homework
You’ve probably already heard about researching the company you’re interviewing for, or practicing interview questions. These are both great tips and should be done prior to an interview. However, you can take your game a step further and brush up on your professional skills, as well. For example, if you are looking for an entry-level accounting position, and you are fresh out of college, read about the daily functions of the job you’re applying for. Don’t stop there however. Familiarize yourself with any procedures and definitions that you don’t know by searching online.
The same goes for people that have experience in one area, such as accounts payable, and want to apply for a bookkeeping position, for example. While many employers understand that entry-level candidates, or those new to a certain field may not understand all the terminology and procedures, you will really stand out if you do.
For every job that you apply for, make a list of all of the skills they are looking for. Many of these will overlap when applying to the same field. Pay attention to the ones that you are not familiar with, and research these areas until you feel comfortable talking about it.
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