Congratulations! So, your CV managed to pass all those ATS traps, get the recruiter’s attention and beat the competition, well done. They called you to set the interview date and now you are starting to realize that you actually need to do some preparing for this important day. Regardless of work experience, age or education, a job interview is almost always a stressful event for many people. What can you do to calm your nerves and present yourself in the best possible light on the interview?
I always give the same advice:
1. Check the job vacancy/description once again. Try to identify the company's needs and think about how you can align your experience. Can you assume what their questions might be?
2. Prepare the answers for the most common interview questions and start rehearsing. A mirror can be a good friend in this, or you can ask a family member to help you out and play the interviewer role.
3. Rehearse and repeat. The more the better. You will be ready once you feel fully confident in your answers.
4. Do a mock interview(s). If possible, find a reliable career professional who will guide you and get you ready for the interview in a short time.
5. Prepare for tricky questions, such as reasons for leaving the previous employer, gaps in your employment (if any), your understanding of the challenges working in a multicultural working environment, etc.
6. If this job is in another country and you are ready to move, please, before the interview, read as much as possible about cultural differences and cultural norms there. The more you know, the smaller are chances to be surprised with the question or the interviewer(s) point of view – so, you avoid any confusion or misunderstandings.
7. If you are going to be interviewed in the language that is not your mother tongue, put additional effort to renew the knowledge of technical terms related to your profession, and, again, practice your answers and your pronunciation a lot. They will judge your communication skills, and you cannot shine if the language is a problem.
8. Prepare one or two questions for the employer. Preferably, not questions about vacation, benefits, promotions, raise, employee discounts and similar. Ask about the company culture, what the interviewer likes the most working there or how they measure successful job performance, for example.
9. Look professionally, no matter if it is a phone, skype or interview in person.
10. If it’s a skype interview, check everything twice before the interview: camera, microphone, laptop battery, your background. Make sure you are not interrupted either.
To reduce the stress before the interview, try to sleep well the night before, do not rehearse right before the interview, take a short walk, have your breakfast (lunch) or just talk with someone to distract your thoughts. Remember, the interview is a conversation, not an interrogation, and regardless of the outcome, you will at least have another important experience under your belt. Be confident and be yourself!