Whether you’re looking for your first job or making a career switch well into your working life, job interviews are crucial and inevitable. They are the best way to showcase your talents, abilities and work ethic to interested employers, but sometimes the nerves of such an important meeting can cause interviewees to forget their most important assets.
Before you go into your next interview, remind yourself of who you are, what you can bring and these tips for nailing your next job interview:
It’s important to remain professional and formal during an interview, but you also want to be confident in your abilities. You know what you have brought to other jobs, projects and volunteer opportunities and how you can apply your skills to this work opportunity. Instilling confidence in yourself can also make you seem more friendly and approachable—traits many employers look for in their future employees.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Practice describing your accomplishments from the previous several years clearly and without jargon. Prepare one or two stories about how you were able to master a new skill or task to solve an employer’s problem. Interviewers prefer stories over a laundry list of facts.
If it helps, have a friend or family member perform a “mock” interview with you so you can get a feel for how the actual interview process may go.
Yes, it’s important to know how to answer interview questions and understand how your own skillset can benefit workplaces, but you’ll also want to know the “red flags” for companies you don’t want to work for. For example, it is illegal for an interviewer to ask for unnecessary personal details about your life such as your age, marital status, if you have children, your prescribed medications and your disability status.
Some examples of inappropriate questions and their appropriate counterparts include:
- Illegal: Do you have a disability?
- Legal: Do you have a condition that would prohibit you from doing this job?
- Illegal: What is your religion?
- Legal: Our job requires employees to work weekends, would that be an option for you?
Concerning Video Interviews
All of the above tips also apply to video interviews, but there are a few new factors you should be aware of when it comes to going into your virtual interview. This includes:
- Testing your Equipment and Space: Make sure you are using a charged, working device to perform your interview and that your interviewing space is free of distractions that could prevent you or your interviewer from having a successful meeting.
- Don’t let the screen fool you: Especially with pre-recorded videos, it’s important to remember to treat virtual interviews the same way as you would a physical one. Show up to the meeting in business attire, speak with the same enthusiasm and confidence as you would in person and remember to make eye contact.
- Don’t be afraid of glitches: Sometimes technology fails, even if you prepare for every scenario. Experiencing troubleshooting issues doesn’t mean your interview is ruined and can even show off your ability to stay calm under pressure. Once you and the interviewer connect, ask for their phone number so that you can continue the conversation if technical issues occur. If you remain connected and have an issue, ask for a moment to resolve the issue, mute your audio and video to address it, then resume the conversation with a brief apology and a positive attitude.
Interviews can be intimidating, but with the right amount of practice, confidence and preparation, you might surprise yourself with how successfully your interview can go.