After sending out several job applications, the phone finally rings or you receive an email inviting you to an interview, and with the invitation come new worries. “What should I say?”, “How do I introduce myself?”, “What does a job interview look like?” are just some of your questions, but the good news is that preparation is half the battle in having a pleasant conversation with potential colleagues.
So, take a few deep breaths and read on.
Before the interview, do some research about the company and the job you’re applying for. Find out what the company does, what projects they work on, what programmes or technologies they use, what clients they work with and anything else you think is important about the company. Also check out the location of the meeting, how to get there and how much time you’ll need.
Employers judge the person who comes for an interview at first sight, so it’s important to make a good first impression. Above all, be there on time, and the most important thing when the interview starts is to be relaxed and friendly. Your appearance says a lot, so dress appropriately – a safe option is business casual. Although it may be difficult, try to look relaxed and natural, even if you don’t feel like it. One way to achieve this is to smile at the beginning of the conversation.
Practise your introduction
At the beginning of every interview, the employer will ask you to introduce yourself. Here you should mention your education, work experience and skills. So, before the interview, remember what’s written in your CV. Of course, you cannot mention relevant jobs at the beginning of your career, but you can list ‘classic’ student jobs, volunteering, project work, completed training, hobbies, or anything else that you think the employer might like and that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
What you say during the interview is very important, but so is the way you say it. Avoid answering “yes” or “no”, give all the necessary information and stick to the question asked. Show interest in the job by actively listening to the person doing the interview and not interrupting. Also, ask a question if something isn’t clear to you or if you want to check that you’ve understood the person you’re talking to. If you usually change the tempo of your speech or the colour of your voice in stressful situations, try to be aware of this beforehand and pay attention to it, as it can betray your nervousness.
As mentioned earlier, a smile at the beginning of the meeting is a good start, so also smile during the conversation when it’s appropriate. Try to eliminate or diminish the signs of nervousness if you have them. However, if you feel that your nervousness is noticeable or your voice is shaking, it’s okay to say that you’re nervous. Maintain eye contact and if you’re talking to more than one person, look at them all for the same amount of time.
At the very end of the interview, the employer will probably ask you if you’ve any questions for them. Prepare at least one or two questions, as they’re an indicator of your interest in the company and the job. The question may come to your mind during the interview, but if you cannot remember it later, it’s a good idea to prepare it in advance. The questions can be about the recruitment process, tasks and duties, work organisation, challenges the employees face, projects they’re involved in and the promotion opportunities.
Remember that the employer is inviting you to an interview to get to know you, not to test your knowledge, so relax! 😊