You’re about to walk into that long awaited interview for your dream job – your hands tremble, your heart races, and you start to sweat. You have no idea who will be interviewing you, whether it will be one person or a small army, and you’re praying desperately that they don’t ask you any difficult or challenging questions. We’ve all been there at some point in our career.
What can we do to alleviate this anxiety? Does it have to be such a painful experience?
There are 5 things we can do on, and immediately after, that very first call from the employer which will make that first interview a far less daunting experience.
1. Who: After heartily thanking them for the invitation and confirming date, time and location, grab a pen and ask them specifically who will be interviewing you. Bringing along those recorded names on your notepad allows you to focus on the initial introductions during the interview rather than stressing out about remembering all the names you are hearing for the first time.
2. Complete Job Description: Ask for a complete job description and, if appropriate, an annual report to give you additional information. This gives a competitive edge over the other qualified candidates when you are better equipped to ask intelligent questions, make insightful observations and give sincere commendations on company successes, expansions or noteworthy news. A complete job description will also enable you to identify fitting examples from your own history that align with the requirements of the role that may not necessarily have been included in the job posting.
3. Interview Type & Format: Inquire about the general type and format of the interview, the expected duration, and whether there will be any testing – you will be better informed rather than caught off guard, thereby allowing more thorough preparation. If it is informal, the onus is on you to steer the possibly free-flowing conversation on to why, specifically, you are the best candidate for the job.
4. Relevant Documents: Ask if there is anything they’d like you to bring along, i.e., certificates, ID’s, and references or letters of recommendation – this can expedite the process rather than providing them at a later time; make it as convenient for them as possible.
5. Connection: In addition to the research you initially carried out on the company while preparing your resume and cover letter, now you can take it one step further. Having recorded the names, you can now research and locate your interviewers on LinkedIn and send a connection request stating that you are looking forward to your interview. Even if they choose not to connect, this will not only present you as proactive but it will enable you to stand out from the competition. It will inform the employer that you are in charge of your own career and that they could quite likely benefit from your assertive and thorough approach. Sometimes simply seeing a face or a facial expression can help us gain a little familiarity, at least more than our competitors – after all, making a connection is key. Seeing their faces can also serve as a good reminder that, at the end of the day, they too are simply human which can then allow us to relax just a little more, focusing less on ourselves and more on our interviewers which is crucial to building rapport and making that good first impression.
© 2016 InspireWorks Consulting