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How to Interview Well

So you did a great job with your resume and secured an interview. Now what?

People flounder in interviews when they don’t prepare properly. They lose out on that awesome job. Don’t let this happen to you.

Two chapters in my book “Resume Success Secrets” will help heaps. These dedicated chapters are “State of Mind and Combating Nerves” and “Interview Tips”. They’re full of tips and advice, so at just $4.97 the book is great value.

In the meantime, follow these 10 tips and dramatically increase your chances of winning the job.

1. Combating your nerves

When we’re nervous we never do our best. We don’t think straight when our brain is starved of oxygen, which is what happens when we’re stressed. We tend to go blank when asked a question and get frustrated when, after the interview, we think of all the great responses we should have given.

You can do many things to help combat your nerves. The top two are prepare for your interview and control your breathing.

Prepare: Get friends to ask you questions an employer would likely ask. As with anything, the more you practice for your interview, the better you’ll get and the more confident you’ll sound. Turning up unprepared won’t get you over the line. Research the company and, where possible, those who will be interviewing you. Think through what you can contribute to the position and to the organisation.

Control your breathing: Take longer, deeper breaths. This sends oxygen straight to your brain and puts you in a better position to answer questions. Deep breathing, like they do in yoga and meditation, automatically allows the body and mind to relax.

2. Dress for success

Never underdress when going for an interview. Dress for the position — different roles require different standards. For example, a corporate role requires business attire, whereas a blue-collar role suits a smart shirt and smart casual pant or skirt. Check out the company’s website to see if there are images of staff. This will enable you to better select what you wear.

Only wear clean and ironed clothes, never crumpled ones. Always wear smart shoes that aren’t scuffed.

Leave the oversized handbag at home. Declutter to keeps things simple.

3. Personal hygiene

Always have clean hair and tidy, well-groomed finger nails.

Remember that bad body odour can be off-putting. The same applies when candidates smell like cigarettes or are wearing over powering perfume or aftershave.

Avoid food with strong smells, like garlic, the night before your interview. And don’t have a big night out—you’ll smell of alcohol. Your potential employer will likely assume this is a regular habit and this may lead them to question your performance and/or reliability.

4. Positive self-talk

How we talk to ourselves dramatically effects how we perform in interview. Negative self-talk hinders performance. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a friend who is getting ready for an interview. You would have positive words of encouragement and remind your friend what they’re good at and how lucky the prospective employer would be to have them on board. Practice this type of positive self-talk.

5. Arrive 25 minutes early

Before your interview, look up the address and map out how you’re going to get to the interview and how long it will take. If driving, figure out in advance where to park. It’s best to arrive 25 minutes early and find a café nearby where you can sit, relax and breathe. You can use this extra time to practice answering questions in your head. Being early and knowing you’re only two minutes away reduces anxiety.

Make sure you’re settled into the reception area five minutes before your interview is due to start. Continue to control your breathing.

6. Posture and handshake

People judge your character by your handshake and posture.

People are attracted to confident people so your handshake should be firm, not wishy washy. People with a “soft” handshake can be considered timid and lacking confidence.

Stand and sit with your back and shoulders straight. Don’t slump. If you slouch, people can read this as lack of interest or, worse still, that you’re lazy. They may decide you have no get up and go.

7. Respond to everyone on the interview panel

When asked a question, include all panel members in your response by maintaining eye contact with everyone, not just the person who asked the question.

If you can choose where to sit, go for the spot that most easily allows you to look at everyone.

Along with eye contact, it’s important to smile to each panel member. This shows that you’re confident, approachable and engaging. Don’t underestimate the value of a smile.

8. Stay on point

When answering questions, make sure you respond on point. Don’t let yourself ramble because of nerves. Keep your responses concise. If you go off on a tangent, the best way to get back on track is to simply say: “I’m sorry, I’m nervous and have gone off track. To answer your question …”

9. Have your own question ready

At the end of an interview, the interviewer/s may well ask if you have any questions. It’s always good to have one ready to ask. This shows you’re interested in the role and have done your homework. It’s also a good way to lead to more open discussion.

10. Say thanks

Once the interview is over, stand up and thank the panel for the opportunity to present yourself. Shake hands firmly with each member, using their name.

Tips on what to avoid

You’ll find heaps of tips on what to avoid in “Resume Success Secrets”. In the meantime, here are some quick tips. Never:

  • arrive late
  • leave your phone on
  • interrupt your interviewers
  • talk negatively about a previous employer
  • chew gum
  • fidget

For more information, head straight to the face2face webpage for common interview questions and/or buy “Resume Success Secrets” for just $4.97.

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