I’m about to start a new job search after some time off but my interviewing skills are extremely rusty. I’m nervous to interview again. How do I get myself up to speed and ready for my first interview?
Congratulations on starting a new job search! The key to a successful interviewing starts and ends with preparation. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel, and the more confident you’ll feel the better you'll interview. So, let’s get you prepared!
The time leading up to an interview is your time to get your game plan ready. Use this time wisely and you’ll ace your first interview.
Most things in life boil down to mindset so start off thinking about your interview in a positive way. I’d argue that there’s nothing to be nervous about. As a candidate you are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you. Close your eyes and imagine yourself at the interview. Envision yourself comfortable, articulate, and charismatic. Check out Fake it, ‘Till you Make it for some inspiration on visualizing yourself as a success.
2.Know your Stuff
You need to know your “stuff” — which is your work experience in the form of what you did, how you did it, and why it mattered. Know your value proposition inside out. If you’re not doing it already, start an Evernote account and create a ‘Ada Girl’ or ‘Ada Boy’ file and start keeping track of all your awesome career moments. This is the stuff you can review before interviews, rather than racking your brain for examples, with this method you’ll have a handful at your fingertips.
3.Practice and Polish
Knowing your stuff is half the battle. The other is being able to articulate it in a charismatic, confident, and concise manner. The only way I know how to get better at something is to practice and interviews are no exception. To ensure you sound eloquent, you’ll need to practice. Run through common interview questions and review your stuff from step 2 so that you can iron out any wordiness in your answers. The more often you talk about your work experience, the smoother it’ll be come interview time. You can grab a trusted friend to run through your stuff or even talk to yourself (that’s what I do!)
Know a reasonable amount of information about the company to which you’re interviewing. Review their core values, mission, vision, products, etc. Read the job description or advertisement carefully. A pretty common interview question is, “why do you want to work here” so be ready to nail it. Also, use your research time to prepare the questions you’ll have for the interviewer. Here are a few great questions to get answered as a candidate.
I can’t stress this enough. If you feel good you’ll interview better. While I’m an advocate to dressing up, I am also an advocate for comfort. Wear things that look good and feel good to wear. Skip anything that’s too tight and shoes that you can’t comfortably walk in. Depending on the company size and industry, what to wear is up for debate. When it doubt, dress up. You can never (never!!) be too dressed up for an interview.
6.Get Fired Up
The night before or the day of your interview is all about mental preparation. Clear your mind of worries and fears and instead focus all of your energy on step #1 — visualize yourself being your best self in the interview: self-assured, well-spoken, prepared, and enjoying the conversation. Get excited about the prospect and let that excitement calm any anxieties. It’s just an interview so just go out there and do your best.
There you have it, my top six steps to nailing your interview. Remember, you’re only as good as you believe you are so focus your energy on building up your confidence by reviewing your “stuff” and realizing that you are a great candidate and the right company will be ecstatic to land you!
Photo Credit: Luis Llerena