Interviews kind of suck. It’s that weird space where you’re trying your hardest to make yourself seem amazing, without sounding like your head is firmly stuck up your own butt. Then there’s the nerves and the preparation and maybe even the true horror that is group interviews.
Despite all this, we’ve all got to do them at some point, so may as well find out how to do them well. In that spirit we asked Simon Bennett, a career coach at Glide Outplacement, to impart his wisdom on us.
1. Act confident
“You may not feel confident, but you should act like you are,” recommends Simon, “Make a good first impression [with a] firm handshake, direct eye contact and being positive. Then carry this through the rest of the interview. E.g. keep smiling while answering tough questions.”
So basically, if there was ever a time to fake it until you make it, you job interview is it.
2. Use concrete examples
I think we’ve all been guilty of listing off things we’re good at. Sometimes we genuinely are good at them, sometimes we’re possibly embellishing – either way, Simon reckons it’s useless if you can’t back it up.
“Don’t just recite a list of skills. Provide concrete examples of how you have used those skills and what you achieved. Paint a picture for the interviewer and make it easy for them to see that you’re the best candidate.”
3. Solve real problems
This was the biggest eye-opener for me. Of course you’re brilliant, but chances are there’s a handful of other candidates who have worked as hard and as well as you. So how do you set yourself apart? Simon says you show how forward-thinking you are.
“Ask what the successful candidate will be expected to achieve, then describe how you would go about those tasks. Even if your solution isn’t perfect it gives interviewers plenty to remember you by.”
4. Follow up
“To ace a job interview – even after it’s finished – send a thank you note promptly afterward,” says Simon. Be sure to send it to each interviewer and restate why you want the job and why you’d be a good fit. Keep it succinct though. You can also address any important points that didn’t come up in the interview or any issues that did come up.
If you really want to stand out, Simon suggests you can “provide something useful such as an article on a topic discussed in the interview.”