Job interviews are pretty tricky, but they’re not especially hard. If you’ve made it as far as an interview, you’ve obviously got something to offer and your potential employer certainly wants to hear about it.
Of course, the general rule of thumb is to be prepared – but preparation does not just mean pouring over past issues, researching the business model, preparing your own questions, knowing the questions you’ll be asked beforehand, having an idea of what you’ll say and what you might wear. You should do all of those, of course – that’s a no brainer, but preparedness is also a state of mind too.
The key to any successful job interview is knowing and being quietly confident in your ability and the fact that you will do the best you possibly can and everything else is out of your hands.
Don’t go in with a big head, ego or being cocky. No one likes a braggart and narcissist. Just be cool, calm and confident. It’s okay to be a little nervous, but turn it into motivation.
During the interview, I find it helpful to just try and have a conversation than a stilted Q&A session. Don’t wait for them to ask you if you have any questions. If you’ve got one and it’s relevant – ask it. Be hungry.
It’s also really healthy to make sure you’ve got something to do directly after the interview is over. The waiting game is never fun and it’s good to be occupied, whether that’s filling out more applications, meeting a friend for a drink, having a cigarette, going for a run or bike ride.
How you deal with it afterwards is just another important part of the interview process. It’s naturally healthy to think about what you could have said or done differently, if you wore the right pair of trousers or made a good impression.
But don’t obsess (I could do with following my own advice).
No one has the perfect interview and hindsight is absolutely 20/20 in these cases.
Write down some notes when things become clearer about what you could have done better. When you eventually do get the call – and if you don’t get a call, you call them – ask what did work/didn’t work in the interview. What you could have done better? Why you didn’t get the job or move on to the next round?
Searching for the elusive first job is part of growing up, and now is as good of a time as any to learn more about yourself, both professionally and personally. Sometimes the hardest questions we as journalists ask are the ones we ask of ourselves.
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