Job interviews: tips and strategies for going in with confidence
Job hunting is a job in itself. Anyone who has found themselves at least once in the situation of having to look for a new job knows exactly how demanding and tiring the process can be. After searching for vacancies and sending out applications, once the recruitment process has begun you have to face one of the most stressful situations in everyone’s work life, regardless of age and experience: the job interview.
It is of course true that no interview is the same as the next, and a good strategy is to work out how to present yourself based on the different types of people and companies you meet. That said, it is also true that there are some basic rules and precautions you can take to ensure you go into the much-anticipated meeting as best-prepared (and calm) as you can be. These are our top four:
Presenting your educational and professional background
Not every position you apply for will involve the same tasks and responsibilities. The first rule is to always analyse the job description carefully, picking out the strong points to highlight in your educational and professional career so far.
If you’ve taken part in specific projects that highlight particular skills you have that are among those required, you can use them as examples in your presentation. Discussing real situations to showcase your experience will help focus recruiters’ attention on why you’re worth considering.
Successes and failures: focus on learning
Not every project or situation that you’ve handled in your academic or professional life will have gone well – or perhaps not immediately. If this question should come up, don’t panic: describe things as they really were, with the issues, challenges or disappointments that you’ve had to tackle. This way, the hurdles you came across will give you a chance to explain how you managed these problems, and how you found solutions – or even how you dealt with a defeat and learned a lesson from it. Showing that you can learn from your mistakes and use failures as an opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge, will help you make a great impression and will add greater substance and truth to your story.
Take away experience and insights from every interview.
Doing lots of interviews helps you get better with practice. Unless you’re already super self-confident, we recommend interviewing even for positions that you’re less interested in, or which you don’t feel completely prepared for. That way you can gain experience and build up your confidence in formulating answers to questions, and in your ‘forecasting’ skills: while every interview is different. the same questions tend to crop up. If you struggle to answer a particular question, as soon as the interview is over, note it down and re-write an answer you’re satisfied with. You’ll find yourself becoming increasingly familiar with the approaches of the interviewers you encounter; your sense of awkwardness will fade, and you’ll feel more confident.
Never say more than you’re asked to
Like many things in life, the golden rule of ‘less is more’ applies to job interviews too. Simply limiting yourself to answering the questions is a good way to avoid giving out information that hasn’t been requested and that could actually damage the impression you make.
The first interview between a candidate and recruiter is an ‘exploratory’ meeting, and this applies to both parties: particularly if you’re in the first stage of a recruitment process, answer the questions and ask as many as you need to better understand the position and working environment – but don’t go any further. Going into detail about your personal life during a job interview is extremely inadvisable. Also, for the moment, don’t ask any questions to do with contractual conditions, salary, paid leave or holidays. At this point, don’t reveal any specific requirements on your part related to your family or private life. These kinds of issues should be brought up at a later date, or only if the interviewer specifically asks you about them at this early stage.
Whether you’re actively seeking for new openings or simply want to stay in the know about your options for changing jobs, sign up for our free job alert service and we’ll take care of delivering you the latest and best job opportunities!
Don’t miss a thing – follow our blog where you’ll find news, advice and lots more about the world of work.