How To Prepare A Job Interview

As soon as you walk into the room for the interview, a conclusion is made about who you’re and what you’re like.  The majority of the impression that lasts is based on how you exude confidence, what you look like, and the manner of the way you speak.  When you’re unprepared and nervous, unconsciously, your body language gives away how you’re feeling.  And you end up looking less confident and authoritative.  It’s normal to be nervous for a job interview; it happens to the best of us.  So here are tips on how to exude confidence at a job interview:

Practice visualization

Visualize the whole process of the interview, from the moment you get ready in the morning of the interview to how you’ll be ending the day and everything in between.  Visualize how to exude confidence through verbal communication and your body language.  Go through the whole process and include all of the tiny details, your answers to certain questions, and how you’ll react to possible scenarios and situations.  When the interview day finally comes, you may now only replay what you’ve visualized to be your response.

how to exude confidencePractice your handshake, eye contact, and smile

These are the non-verbal cues that give big and lasting impressions.  And because these can easily be rehearsed, take advantage by exuding confidence through these simple actions.  Practice the handshake with a friend; it should be firm but not grip-like.  Don’t forget to make eye contact to establish that you’re confident and prepared.

Smile to let the interviewer know that you’ve a pleasant personality.  It’s easy to forget and overlook these things when you’re nervous, which is why it’s important to practice so you can easily deliver.

Dress the part

As you need to put your best foot forward for an interview, you also need to dress the part.  Dress smartly and appropriately.  Pick out an outfit down to your shoes and accessories beforehand that will send the message you want to convey.  Have a make-up and hair dry run so when the interview day finally comes, you don’t leave room for error and you’ll look your very best.

Also make sure that your fingernails are clean and tidy; a neutral shade of nail polish would also up the ante.  When you look your best for an interview, you’re able to make a strong impression, and because you feel good about looking good, exuding confidence will naturally come.

Be prepared

There’s nothing more appalling than an interviewee who doesn’t even have a clue about the company he has the potential to work for nor of the position he is being interviewed for.  Research ahead of time what the company, your potential employer, is all about.  What do they stand for?  What achievements are they proud of?  More importantly, what are their principles and the general impression they give out?

If you know these things aside from the basics (i.e. type of industry and products), you’ll have an opportunity to convince them why you’re fit for the job and how you can contribute to the growth of the company and the team.  All of the preparations you’ve gone through will be put to use during a span of an hour or two, and exuding confidence will easily be affected by how prepared you are.

You have just received an invitation for a job interview. After agreeing on a date and time, what is the next step?  Go ahead and congratulate yourself for successfully securing a job interview, but don’t waste your time planning on celebrations just yet. Instead, direct your focus and energy on preparing for the interview. Whether the job interview is in person or online, the tips below can be helpful:

Research the company/ person interviewing you

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You want to make a good impression, and although the recruiter may have given you some information about your future employer, it’s still good to do your own research about the company you want to work for. How big is the company? Is it well established or is it a start-up? Who and what are their competitors?

Just knowing basic info alone will  be helpful to you as a prospective employee, but researching more will give you an advantage as the interviewer will be able to sense that and will make for a great impression. In most start-ups, the likely person interviewing you is the CEO; make a good first impression by knowing a bit about the person’s background and interests.

Research the position

What is the nature of the position? Is it full-time or part-time? Is there any travel involved? How is the workload like? Supervising 10 people is different than managing 1,000 people. Make sure you’re familiar with what you’re getting yourself into, the challenges the role may bring, and other things. Go online and find out more about the position or talk to people who’ve this position or know someone who does.

Make a list of questions

It’s important to ask questions; the job interviewer will expect this of you. Asking questions shows that you’re interested about the company and the position. It all depends on the questions you ask and how you phrase them: e.g. “Does this position have room for growth?” sounds much better than “Is this a dead-end job?”You can also ask questions about information that didn’t show up in your research, such as if they have plans of expanding, their busiest months, etc.

Make a list of things you want to be covered in the interview

Keep this as a guide, but don’t take it out during the job interview. For example, I would write down things such as work environment, flexible hours, compensation package, bonuses and incentives, growth in the company, and other things I want to make sure will be discussed during the job interview. If one of these isn’t brought up by the interviewer, then I will bring it up when I get the chance to ask questions.

Prepare suitable clothes to wear during the interview

Whether the interview is in person or online, you must wear sensible clothes.Most telecommuting jobs will allow you to work in your pajamas, but in order to secure that job, you need to make a good impression first. ‘Clothes make the man’ as the adage goes, and many recruiters and employers still cite appearance as a major factor in making decisions.

For women, it’s important to consider your make-up as well. Avoid eye make-up that’s too dramatic for daytime. You want to enhance your features, not look like a clown. Remember that you’re going to a job interview and not to a club. If you’re planning to wear your blazer or jacket and know that it hasn’t been used for some time, take it to the cleaners right away. Pick out clothes that you’ll be wearing for the job interview days ahead and have some alternatives in case of weather or other unavoidable things.

Review your resume, all past achievements, and contributions

As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, this will be brought up in the job interview. What’s in your resume/ CV is what got you this job interview to begin with, so make sure you’re prepared to address questions related to your CV. Make sure that the details that you narrate to the job interviewer corroborate with what’s in your resume; if it doesn’t, you won’t be able to save yourself with lame excuses such as “Oh, I haven’t updated that part yet….”

Make a list of all your strengths and talents

By making a list of all your past and current strengths and talents, you’ll be able to focus more on those during the interview. If the position you’re applying for isn’t a perfect match with previous positions you had in the past, you can always remind the interviewer that you’ve the necessary skill set required that you gained from past positions that can help you deliver in this new role.

Compensation package – set your expectations and limitsjob interview

Make your own research and find out what the current standard rate for this position is. Having an idea will help you when the question of compensation comes up. Employers will negotiate, so make sure you set limits. If they offer you something that you feel is too low, then be honest and say that. Don’t sell yourself short.

Employers will appreciate your integrity. On the other hand, resist being unrealistic by going to the opposite extreme and setting expectations that are too high. Just be prepared with a range, and don’t stutter when this discussion comes up. When you’ve done your research, you’ll obviously sound more confident about it.

If you’re commuting, make sure you’ve a ride on the day of the interview

Are you taking the bus, train, or driving your car? Make sure you secure a ride on the day of the job interview. If the location is in another town or city, plan to arrive there many hours ahead or preferably a day before to give you time to relax and freshen up for the job interview. You also don’t want to have an empty stomach during an interview.

Make sure you keep your calendar free on that day of responsibilities

Avoid distractions from last-minute engagements; if you’ve children, enlist the help of a babysitter or someone who can look after your kids while you’re away. You don’t want to be worrying about them during an interview. If you booked a sitter, always have a backup on call just in case.

Announce to family members not to rely on you for anything during that day to free yourself of last-minute responsibilities, especially the time consuming kind; delegate chores to someone else for the time being.

After much preparation, now it’s time to relax. If you’ve done your preparations correctly, you should be confident enough and just sit back without any worries. Allow for some time before the job interview where you’re not busy doing a lot of work. It’s important to have a frame of mind that’s relaxed and stress-free during the day of the job interview. And when you arrive, be yourself and let your talents shine.

Remember that the impression you make during a job interview will greatly affect your chances of landing the job.  An interview is your chance to convince them why you’re competent for the position and why you can represent the company well.  How to exude confidence for a job interview is a matter of preparedness.  Aim high, dream big! Wishing you the best of luck!

How to Act During The Interview

You’ve done your preparations, and now you’re off to the interview.  Although you’re excited, you feel a little bit of apprehension; after all, getting this job is quite important for you.  You wonder if they’ll like you and what you can do to make sure you get an offer.  Fear not; below are some tips that can help you during the interview.  Keeping them in mind will give you an edge over other candidates:

Be confident

Nothing is more important than being confident. You can look lousy and use the weather as an excuse, but you can redeem yourself by remaining confident. If you’ve done your research and much needed preparations then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t feel confident.  This employer obviously thinks you’re hireable otherwise they wouldn’t have invited you for an interview. Keep that in mind.

Let your talents shine

Really focus on your most recent contributions and highlight past achievements, especially the ones you’re most proud of.That’s when you’ll look and sound most excited, so talk about your strengths and talents.

Don’t talk too much

Don’t overshare, unless asked, and don’t volunteer unnecessary information, especially things that are too personal.

Stay focused

If the interviewer speaks too soft or there are too many distractions in the space, keep your eyes on the interviewer and focus on what he or she is talking about.  Lean over to show you’re interested and focused on what they’re saying.

Never cut off the interviewer

Even if the interviewer is taking a long time to express something, resist cutting them off. Even if you mean well, it can look abrasive and rude. Listen and don’t finish the other person’s sentences.  Let them take their time, and be patient. It’s a big turn-off to be cutting someone off while talking; you’ll come across as impatient. Wait for your turn to speak.

Pause before answering questions

Give yourself some time to reflect on the question, and giving it some thought, then go ahead and answer. It’s better to spend a few seconds digesting the question and formulating an answer rather than blurting out what comes to mind first and retract that later on. The interviewer has put aside time for this interview, so what’s your hurry?

Make eye contact

Don’t stare, but make sure you’re engaging and connecting with the interviewer by keeping eye contact. People who do are seen as truthful and more trustworthy than those who don’t.

Watch your posture

Your body language should say, “I’m warm, open, and professional.” Avoid restless leg syndrome or having ‘nerves’ take over you. Avoid hair twirling, biting nails, and other awkward and distracting mannerisms.

Be respectful

Never roll your eyes or say something inappropriate. Even if you disagree with something the interviewer says, keep quiet and keep your cool.You’ll look rude and unprofessional if you raise your voice or make unnecessary remarks. It may be just a test to see if you’ve a temper. If you feel ‘insulted’ by a remark or offer, resist throwing a fit and instead keep calm. Tell them how you feel but in a way that shows integrity on your part.

Answer with certainty

Do you sound like you’re answering questions with more questions? Avoid sounding doubtful with your answers. Try to record yourself and listen to how you speak. Practice talking to people and ask them how you sound. The keyword is conviction: answer with confidence and certainty. Otherwise, you can always say: “I’m not 100% sure, but I can find out…”

Be genuine

Employers can do background checks and verify institutions and employers you’re claiming to be associated with, so keep it honest and get your facts straight. Don’t jack up your current salary or other information that can easily be checked.interview

Speak clearly and don’t rush

Enunciate, and avoid slang words. Take your time when speaking.It’s important to be understood by the interviewer, so don’t rush your sentences. Let the interview have a natural flow. Resist looking at your watch- doing so looks totally unprofessional.

Ask questions

This is expected of few, so be sure to prepare a list beforehand of things you want addressed during the interview. You can ask for more details about the company and the position that you don’t already know yet to show even more interest. Also ask the interview what makes this a great company to work for, if there’s room for growth, and what you’ll gain from working with them (to make sure they know you know how valuable you are).

Negotiate if needed

With regards to compensation, set a limit. If numbers are thrown at you and you’re not happy with those numbers, then ask them what their ‘ceiling’ figure for this role is. If their maximum is still too low for your desired income, then say so. Give them time to make an offer.

Thank the person and shake their hands

Be sure to thank the person and shake their hands before walking out the door. Leave a good impression by being polite and pleasant until the very end.

Now give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. Sit back and anticipate an offer or in some cases, a second interview. Other higher ranking personnel might want to talk to you first before hiring you.  If that’s the case, then there’s no need for you to worry as you already know what to do. Good luck!

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Amy Taylor on Email
Amy Taylor
Hi, I'm Amy, the Beauty section editor for Independent Femme! I've worked at a cosmetics distribution company for a number of years and learned my way through beauty tricks by making a ton of mistakes along the way. I'm here to ensure you don't make the wrong choices some of my former clients and I made!

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