11 Jun Prepping for a job interview? Let’s talk interview questions, calming nerves and how to prepare for the big day.
When it comes to job interviews we have three primary words of advice. Practice, practice and breathe. Like any other skill, your ability to feel confident in a job interview comes from having prepared sufficiently so that you can relax (as much as possible) and be present on the day. While you can’t prepare for every possible question and interviews rarely go perfectly, we have put together some answers to a range of the common questions we get asked around job interviews.
What are popular interview questions that I should prepare for?
There are thousands of possible questions you could get asked in a job interview. We have two suggestions that can help you to prepare. Firstly, get acquainted with the STAR Method. This is a common tool that you can use in job interviews and cover letters. We recommend that you get very good at applying this tool to your own experience.You can do this by checking out our article specifically on the STAR Method.
Secondly, we recommend you get comfortable answering some of the more standard interview questions that you could be asked. Take time to think about how you would answer the following questions.
- What are your strengths?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Tell us about a time you had to resolve conflict in the work environment?
- What is your greatest achievement outside of work?
- What do our company values mean to you?
- What would you hope to bring to this role?
- Give an example of when you’ve made a mistake, how you rectified it and what did you learn from it?
- Why are you looking to leave your current role?
A good thing to focus on is to demonstrate the value that you would bring to the role. Also, remember, outcomes that you’ve achieved in the past are golden – actions speak way louder than words.
How can I lower my nerves on the day apart from practicing answering questions with a coach or friend?
Visualisation is a great tool for lowering anxiety around job interviews. When preparing and answering the above questions close your eyes and imagine that you are in the space that the job interview will take place. Speak your answers out loud and imagine that you are talking to a real interviewer. Even if your imagination is not spot on (say you don’t know what the room will look like or how your interviewer will look), just placing yourself in a similar context will help you to get used to what it feels like to be in the job interview and to answer the questions out loud. Over time this visualisation will help to normalise the interview process and should make it less nerve-racking on the day.
The more life-like you can make your practice, the greater the chances that when you step into the interview room you will feel ready. One last tip is that you can always record yourself and listen back.
Is there a way that I should prepare on the day?
This is a personal choice, so pick a routine that suits you. We do however have a couple of recommendations.
It sounds basic, but timing is key. Give yourself enough time to prepare in the morning. Know what you’re going to wear and put aside enough time to get to the interview and to arrive early. Give yourself time to sit and get used to the office space (around 10-15 minutes). This will really help you to get your nerves in check before the interview begins.
When you do arrive at or around your interview space do some breathing exercises or look over your notes on the company and role you’re interviewing for. This will help you to center yourself so that when you walk into that interview you are as in the moment and relaxed as possible.
How much should I know about the company and role?
Knowing about the company, its values, its history and its current strategic plan is crucial. Don’t just take in your own personal experience with the company, but spend time researching them in depth. Your passion and enthusiasm for the company, industry and the role is what will often set you apart as a candidate. It will show the interviewers that you are serious about the position and are really interested in being a part of the company’s mission and vision.
Should I ask many questions?
In your job interview they’re not just interviewing you. You’re also deciding whether this is a good role and company for your values and interests. We recommend thinking about a range of questions that are relevant for you and that help you to learn more about the position you’re looking at taking on. For example some questions you could ask include:
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- What are the challenges of this position?
- What type of employee tends to succeed here?
- What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?
- How do you help your team grow professionally?
- How would you describe the culture within the organisation?
How can I make job interviews less horrible?
Try not to make the job interview process feel like a painful groundhog day. There are a whole range of different ways to make the job search process more engaging and effective. This comes down to your perspective on the process. Spend 5 minutes thinking about what it would take for the interview process to be more engaging and interesting for you?
It might be lowering the pressure you put on yourself to be perfect and instead focusing on how well you engage with your interviewer, or it could be focusing on parameters you could observe and improve upon to set your own measures of success. The ball is in your court to find ways to make the process more enjoyable and effective, so get creative to avoid job interview groundhog day.
So to sum it all up…
Practice, practice and breathe. Job interviews can be stressful so we hope these tips help you to feel more prepared and confident for your next interview. If you have any great job interview stories or off the wall interview questions you’ve been asked in the past we would love to hear from you.