Heart pounding, forgetting to breath, I asked my interrogator if we could start over. I ended up getting the job, despite the fact that I was having a horrible time at putting words together to form sentences. After many experiences like this, I decided I wanted to start looking at interviews in a totally different light. How can you be exceptionally good at interviews? It all comes down to getting someone to like you. We do this naturally through conversation, discussing our interests, skills and lives in general with fellow human beings. This is what your dreaded interview must imitate in order to get the job that is just within your reach.
Pretend the interviewer is someone you already know.
As you walk into the room, while you make sure you are breathing normally you should be trying to figure out if the person you are interviewing looks or sounds like someone you know. Pretend they are a nicer form of that person, and relax. Even if they don’t look very much like someone you know (you don’t want to spend too much brain power on this task) you can still pretend they are one of your friends.
Think a little bit about how you can provide answers with personal stories to the questions they ask.
Don’t make this awkward. Think about how the different realms of your life are interconnected? Do you typically volunteer to take the lead in situations? Do you find inspiration in certain circumstances such as alone time in the garden or drawing?
How would you approach any question in regular, day to day conversation?
In a regular conversation you would most likely be honest, definitely not lying to the listener unless you have some ulterior motive or some sort of neurosis. You are not trying to put on a show, more genuine. If they sense you are being even a little bit fake or withholding, why would they think you are a good candidate for the job?
The interviewer is most likely going to hire based on gut feelings about the person. Whoever they feel will be a good fit with the company.
Start asking specific questions.
You may already know that you should be asking questions in your interviews, but by the time it’s your turn to inquire your head might be spinning, and you probably aren’t asking specific enough of questions. Ask things you really want to know about the job, anything from big picture to day to day responsibilities and environment. I know that feel. Why don’t you start thinking about the following questions and try to answer them as they relate to the particular job you are interviewing for:
- Specifics about the job “What does _______ (certain aspect of the job) look like?”
- Work environment, “Could you tell me a little bit about the social environment? Would you say things are pretty formal here?”
- Ask questions to personally connect with the interviewer. “How long have you worked here?”, “Are you the person I’ll be directly working under?” or “What is your favorite thing about this job?”
Treat an interview simply like a calm, intelligent conversation with a fellow human being. Be yourself, be confident that you deserve the job, and try to aim for a relaxed, polite and professional disposition.
This is a guest post by Amanda Jensen, a blogger of finances and professional development. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in business management and working for several years as an administrative assistant, Amanda now writes about income protection and career development strategies for AAMI.
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