So, you’ve landed the job interview. You’ve got your foot in the door and now they want to meet you. Eeek! This is the stage of job hunting that seems to unsettle people the most.
It can be daunting meeting people face-to-face or online to talk about yourself, especially when it’s your first job interview or if you’re returning to work after time out.
It’s normal to be nervous, so give yourself a break if you’ve got butterflies or if your mind is racing a little. That means the interview is important to you. Take that as a positive sign that you’re motivated and interested.
Preparing for a job interview
The trick now is to channel that nervous energy into preparation and practice.
With consistent effort beforehand you can step confidently into the job interview to land meaningful work that’s right for you.
Do a happy dance
It’s important to celebrate the wins. Acknowledge that your CV or cover letter landed you this job interview. That’s good feedback – employers are noticing you and putting you in the ‘yes’ category. Your hard work so far is paying off. Sure, you don’t have the job just yet, but you’ve made good progress on the way to finding work. Take that reassurance to the interview.
Think of it as a conversation
An interview is not an interrogation. It’s a formal conversation between you and other people from an organisation. Try to remember that it’s a two-way matchmaking process, not a judgement on you. They’re checking you out and you’re checking if this is the right workplace for you. A job description can provide clues on what you might be asked about, like an agenda for a meeting.
Practice interview questions
Employers want to gain insight into how you’ll approach work scenarios, and if you’ll stick around. Think about specific experiences relevant to the business or industry. Jot down real-life examples of when you’ve solved a problem, juggled a lot or achieved an outcome. Consider your career plans over the next three to five years. Role play with friends or family to practice being in the hot seat.
Dress for success
First impressions make a difference, so put effort into your appearance. This shows the employer that you’re taking the interview seriously. And if you look the part, you’ll feel the part. You don’t have to glam up. Wear neat clothes suited to the workplace. Clean and iron the outfit beforehand – one less stress on the day.
Arrive on time
If it’s a face-to-face interview, map out where you’re going and how you’re going to get there – will it be public transport or getting a lift? Leave plenty of time in case traffic is busy. Aim to arrive with a few minutes to spare so you can visit the bathroom and get a feel for the workplace. If the interview is online, check before meeting that your tech is functional and the screen backdrop is appropriate.
How to tackle job interview nerves
Having said that, arriving too early can leave extra time to get nervous! The wait time in reception might be a good chance to review your resume or to observe the workplace in action.
If sitting is unsettling you might go for a gentle walk about the block. You could head to the bathroom and quietly shake out nervous energy. Use the strategy that works best for your own nervous system.
A calming, distraction exercise might help. Feel your feet on the ground. As you breathe, notice five things you can see. Then look for four things you could touch. Follow that by observing three things you can hear. Sense two things you can smell, then look for something you could taste.
Once you’re in the interview, consider the pause to be your friend. You don’t have to rush or blurt out responses. You can take a breath, sip water or ask for a question to be repeated to gain extra thinking time.
What to do and say at a job interview
You enter the room. First impressions count. But remember that every moment is a chance to reset. So, if something feels clunky or awkward, just remind yourself that you’ve prepared and practiced. The people on the other side of the desk or screen want to hear from you. You’re ready.
Try to make eye contact and catch the name of everyone in the room. Say hello, and clearly state your own name. Thank the employer for taking the time to get to know you and to discover if you’re a suitable candidate for the role and organisation.
Take pen or paper with you or a digital device – make sure to turn off notifications – to take notes of questions or ideas. Your resume and preparatory notes are also helpful prompts if you get lost for words. Just remember to come back to talking directly with people rather than looking away.
Answer questions with examples that demonstrate your experience and behavioural approach, such as what you have done in a past role or what you potentially would do in a work scenario. Explain the situation, outline what was required, talk about what you did, and show what that achieved.
It’s important to be polite and respectful but it’s also valuable to express yourself, to reveal personality and your back story. This is the best way for you and the employer to see if you’re a good fit. Be prepared to talk about strengths, weaknesses, interests and why you want this job.
If there’s something that’s unclear, don’t be afraid to seek clarification. Questions also show an employer that you’re curious about their workplace. If you have career aspirations or access requirements, use the interview stage to check that this is a workplace where things are possible.
CVGT Employment can give you interview tips
Our employment consultants have years of experience guiding people to get ready for job interviews. We have resources that can help you to practice and build your confidence and self-esteem.
Because CVGT Employment develops tailored work plans with all of our job seekers, we connect people to meaningful work with engaging local employers. Get ready to celebrate your next win.
If you’re a job seeker or an employer looking for employees, get in touch with a local CVGT Employment consultant today on 132 848.