It is one thing to miss the opportunity of a lifetime because of a not-so-well written application. It is another to miss it because you decided to mess up during your interview. I missed out on a grand opportunity because I decided to have a messy interview. Oh well, from every “failure” comes lessons that you can share with the world, so that you can save someone else from going through the same.
- First and foremost, you need to prepare well. I wasn’t ready for my interview. My interview was on Skype and whereas it is a known fact that Skype calls can be messy, I spent most of my time perfecting the Skype call instead of preparing my responses to potential questions.
- Ask a friend or colleague for help. The worst thing to do is to turn up for a job interview and sound like you had been dragged to it by someone. So, do whatever it takes to be ready. If there is no one to practice your interview with, do not hesitate to use an app that gives Mock Interviews (Technology came help too, so why not use it?). There’s also an abundance of interview material on the internet. Use them.
- Compose yourself for the interview. This means that you need to actually do all it takes to make sure that your mind is free of anything before and during the interview. This is an awesome opportunity. Don’t let matters that you can solve later disturb your preparation process or cut into your interview time. Good self-composure helps you remember better and answer questions more relevantly.
- Postpone it if you are not ready and have been given the opportunity to. Well, you may fear that the recruiter will think you lack seriousness for postponing your interview, but why has he/ she given you a chance to postpone? Instead of appearing in an interview looking and sounding very unready and unserious (which I believe kills your reputation), kindly tell the recruiter that the time is unfavorable and request for a better time.
- DO NOT be negative during an interview. You may have all your negative opinions about products, services, the government or even the roads you just used, but do not bring it to the interview. No one wants to hire a negative, complaining person who always chooses to see the worst in everything. So, whereas there might be something wrong about life – choose to speak about the good and pleasant.
- Take your time to answer the questions. You might think the recruiter develops a negative opinion about you for being slow in answering, but believe me it is even worse when you come across someone that speaks without thinking. Take time to internalize the questions and compose a good response. However, do not take too much time. At most one minute.
- Do not cut in while the recruiter is speaking. This may happen too much on Skype or Phone calls (through no fault of your own). Even in person, let the one minute or less of waiting give you time to confirm that the recruiter has finished speaking and is waiting for your response.
- Be in sync with your CV/Resume and Cover letter. If you need to memorize the entire CV, do it. In fact you have to memorize your entire CV because it speaks about you. For Phone or Skype interviews, do not hesitate to carry along a copy of your CV and cover letter so that you can refer to them when stuck. Given the nervousness of an interview, there is a high chance of getting stuck. What we sometimes call the “brain jam”. However, as you refer to your cover letter and CV, try your best to make sure it is done silently without interrupting the entire interview process.
- BODY LANGUAGE MATTERS. Be careful not to show any signs of negativity with your body language. Make as few movements with your hands as possible. Because being nervous can end up coming across as dismissive or negative.
- Make sure you can listen to yourself speak. Listen to yourself speak. That is the only way you will be able to make sure you are saying what you actually want to say. When one is nervous, it is easy to say things you do not want to say and to forget the things you really need to say. So, it is good to listen to yourself throughout the interview process. That entails speaking as slowly as you can and very gently.
- Mind your Dress code and environment. Your dress code is important for when you have in-person interviews. Your environment is important when you have Skype interviews or Phone interviews. Make sure you are dressed up decently and comfortably and that your environment is one that makes you comfortable and sets a good tone for the interview. Avoid noisy places and, for video calls, avoid using a room which is dark.
- Tell them what you want to add, not what you want to change. This organization or company existed before you and has established business practices and values. You are coming to add on to their work, to spur them to greater heights. You have not come to change the way they do things. Let everything you say show that you respect, admire and appreciate the effort of the company or organization and are not just coming in to change “the way things are done”.
- Watch how much you speak. How you speak matters. How much you say matters even more. Do not say too much, even the Bible says that “in the multitude of words, transgression is not lacking”. Even in an interview, too many words will come with many mistakes and misunderstandings. Be concise and to the point.
- Be mindful of the recruiter’s body language but not overtaken by it. The recruiter’s body language may be misleading if you decide to rely upon it to make decisions on what to say, but it can be helpful to an extent. So use it wisely. But mostly let your intuition guide you, especially when you have prepared well.
- Prepare for your interview as you are making your CV and writing you application letter. It is important to be ready for the interview even before being called or confirming that you have been shortlisted. Most times, the time between getting your success email and going for the interview is very short. So, prepare for the interview even when you’re not sure of your selection status.
- Last but not least, pray and rely on God. Proverbs 3:5-6. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.
I wish you the best and may you ace that next interview you have. And in case you don’t make it through the interview, do not hesitate to solicit positive feedback from the recruiter.
Feel free to share some of the lessons you have learned from your previous interviews in the comments :-).