Interviewing is a nerve racking experience that takes time and preparation to deal with. I have interviewed hundreds of new grads who are trying to get their first professional job, and I have seen both the best and worst it can be. Based on this experience, here are some things you can do to avoid the disappointment of a bad interview experience.
- Inevitably you will need to answer questions that will deal with past work experiences. Don’t panic if you are lacking in this area. Be honest about your experience and remember that any schooling, internships, summer jobs, volunteer experiences, and the like count.
- These days it is very common for most HR professionals or recruiters to use behaviour or situational based interview questions. These are tough questions for even a seasoned professional to answer so I would suggest that you go online, look for these type of questions and learn how to best answer them. Of course, you won’t know what questions are being asked in your interview, but this will give you an idea of what to expect. If possible, have someone else work with you and ask the questions. Recording your answers will allow you to hear what you said, how it sounded and allow you to decide if you would change anything. Listen to the tone of your voice, the speed of the conversation and the repeated use of the same word. These are all things that show the interviewer your ability to handle yourself in certain situations. At first this may seem crazy, but recording and listening to your answers really will help.
- Remember to be professional at all times. Deal with each person as if they could be your new boss. Respect and courtesy are very important. Have a firm handshake, sit tall and look the interviewer in the eye. Never eat or drink during the interview unless it is a lunch meeting at a restaurant. The interviewer will be judging your ability to deal with different situations and your confidence level.
- Be realistic in your expectations. If this is your first job outside of school, don’t think that you are going to get a supervisor position. No matter what your previous experience, you will still need to prove yourself to the employer. Research typical salary levels for the position and geographic area you are in.
- Preparation is the key to maintaining your confidence during the interview. It is also important for you to do research on the company. Find out what you can about the work they do, learn as much as you can about the corporate culture, mission statement and values. If they sell a product, learn about that too. The more information that you have, the more confident you will feel.
- Last but not least, when it is your turn to ask questions. Ask questions! This is your opportunity to learn more about the position that you interviewed for.
Below I have included some further reading regarding interviewing and behavioural interviews, they will also help with your preparation.
- Warning! Common Interview Mistakes Ahead
- You got the Call! Time to Prepare for the Interview.
- Walking the “Fine Line” known as The Interview
- What is a Behavioural Interview and Sample Questions
- 19 Behavioural Interview Questions and How to Answer Them
Have you ever had a bad interview experience? What happened?