Most job seekers have to get through the interview process in order to land a job. But interviews themselves are a source of anxiety and confusion for many.
Many job candidates go into interviews with misconceptions.
“Sometimes interviewees have extreme views of the job interview,” explained organizational psychologist Nicolas Roulin at Psychology Today. “Some of them expect the interview to be like a police interrogation where the interviewer tries to uncover evidence of problems associated with their past. Such interviewees will be anxious, worried about mistakes they could make, and their performance will ultimately suffer.”
Other candidates expect a casual conversation and are then under-prepared to make a good impression, Roulin said. Either way, going into the situation with an inaccurate view of job interviews can lead job seekers to miss an opportunity to impress hiring managers.
Here’s what to keep in mind:
1. Remember They Want to Hire You
Looking for the right candidate for a job takes time. While the position is open, other employees are working harder or the company may have hired a temporary worker. Temporary workers cost money on top of the cost of hiring a permanent worker later on.
If you are the right candidate, you are solving their problems. Remembering this will boost your confidence, and you will make a better impression if you seem confident.
2. Be Polite to Everyone
Best practice is to be polite to everyone, from the receptionist, to the delivery guy who almost ran you over with his cart, to the CEO of the company. You never know whose opinion counts in the hiring process.
“It’s important to be friendly to everyone because with my clients, we ask the receptionist, we ask the parking garage attendant, especially with higher-level roles, was this person respectful to you and friendly?” said Kelly Marinelli, principal people strategy consultant at Solve HR, in an interview with U.S. News.
3. Research the Company Before the Interview
In other words, be prepared. Now that you know they want to hire you, you should be ready to talk about how your own personal skill set matches their needs, and how you will be an excellent fit for their business.
Be prepared to answer questions about yourself, as well. Ronald E Riggio Ph.D., writing for Psychology Today, advised job seekers to restate a question to make sure they understand it. And be ready to answer such questions as, “Where do you see yourself in three years?”
To stand out and make a good impression, do enough research to be able to discuss the company’s recent merger or new business model. Show that you are knowledgeable and passionate about the specific role. Developing your competence will also cause you to feel more confident.
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4. Build Rapport
If you’re able, go into the interview with information about the person with whom you’ll be conversing. LinkedIn can be a good source for this, showing you whether you belong to the same groups or attended the same school, etc. Build rapport over a shared interest or mutual connection. Don’t be afraid to chat briefly about shared interests.
5. Remain Calm and Neutral
Keep your emotions in check during an interview. You may strongly dislike your current job, or you may resent your current boss’s personality or managerial style. But expressing anger and resentment will make you appear unattractive to hiring managers.
The same advice is applicable when people are extremely hopeful or want the job very much. Remain calm and don’t make a show of seeming needy, as that will most likely also diminish you in a potential employer’s opinion. Instead, convey the reality that you’re both trying to make sure it is a mutually good fit by asking questions. Your questions should be well thought-out so the hiring team knows that you are knowledgeable about the company.
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