Tips To Improve The Things You Can Control In An Interview
No matter how many interviews youve been to, you probably still get nervous, and you probably still feel under-prepared. They never seem to get easier, but we also only tend to do them once in a while, which makes it hard to practice being good at them. As someone thats been on both sides of the table, Ive developed some useful tips over the years to help you prepare better for interviews, by focusing on what you do control, making them less stressful.
If you are like me, just the thought of an interview turns your stomach. Usually, its a stressful experience where youre in a room full of strangers and it feels like they are out to prove you are unworthy of the job. That stress tends to make you forget simple things and write pure gibberish on the whiteboard, when you would have written the same code half-asleep at 03:30am at home, on your laptop, within your bean bag.
There are so many great articles about what to do before and after an interview, like this one for example. But what about all that icky stuff going on in the middle? The part where you forget what you did at your previous job? Where the evil whiteboard pen writes the wrong thing and dooms your career forever?
Plus, even after reading all of that, youre still nervous. You did everything they said in the article, so you should be prepared, but you still feel like youre making a mistake.
How To Analyze A Qualitative Interview
Analyze your qualitative research data early. That way, you can identify emerging themes to shape future interviews. Consider adding these to each interview report:
- The goal of the interview
- Details about the interview participant
- Questions asked, summarized responses and key findings
Relate the analysis to the goal of the qualitative research interview.
Be Creative Be Memorable
By getting creative in a professional way during your interview, you can help create a positive impression that ensures you are top-of-mind with the interviewer and hiring team.
To help you interview effectively and leave a lasting impression, FlexJobs offers mock interviews with career coaches who can also help you calm your nerves and boost your confidence. Enhance your interview skills today by signing up for a mock interview!
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Be Intentional About Your Virtual Background
With an increasing number of interviews happening over Zoom or other videoconferencing apps, your background can be one more way to share key information during an interview, according to Devon Fata, CEO of the web design firm Pixoul.
Whatever you do, dont use an obviously fake background, Fata said. Instead, choose your location and what you show behind you carefully. You could show off your workspace, your qualifications, or your beautiful porch. You could choose to either showor hide all evidence ofkids or pets.
In The End Only You Control How You Respond
If you take nothing else away from all of these tips, just remember that interviews will always be hard but, you can always do more to prepare yourself in order to better handle these often stressful encounters.
I find that its really comforting to know that everyone has some challenges around interviews. Personally, that knowledge helps me relax a bit more when I do them. By going in feeling prepared with your interview strategy, you can go in with confidence and feel more relaxed during the process.
If youd like to explore this in more depth, and for a slightly longer, more thorough read, visit this post. In it, they dig into the different types of technical interviews and how you can prepare for them. Id also suggest that you practise interviewing with a friend who you can trust will give you honest feedback.
And lastly, good luck! Youre going to do great!
Ewald Horn has been in IT for far too long . Hes done many things, but is currently situated in mobile development. When hes not writing code as a freelancer for NoFuss Solutions, hes usually giving talks or out walking his dog. For fun, he volunteers at TEARS – and thinks its about time you do too!
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Consider The Style And Number Of Interviewers
Interviews can happen via video, over the phone, or in person, so consider what style of interview is best and plan accordingly. You can also determine how many people you need to hold an interview, like a panel of colleagues for a prominent role or multiple rounds of interviews for a high-level position. Involving other relevant leaders in the interview process can also be useful to get different perspectives on the candidates experience and abilities.
Tip : Its Ok To Ask Questions
Dont be afraid to ask your interviewer to explain a question or a problem statement differently when you arent sure you understand it. Asking questions shows that youre actively listening to whats being asked, and that youre engaged in the conversation.
Clarifying questions are also a great strategy to hone in on what exactly an interviewer is looking for. For example, if you get asked how youd approach moving a company to a cloud-based solution, a good clarifying question would be to ask whether they have a cloud provider in mind. This will help you determine how to answer this question, because there are significant differences between many of the cloud providers.
Another example could be that someone during the interview mentions Pandas, but you are there for a Java interview. Its worth asking whether you will have the opportunity to work with Python and Pandas, if its something that interests you. The answer to that question might tell you about how the company helps facilitate career growth.
Remember that you are on a voyage of discovery, and part of that voyage is asking exploratory questions to find out more about the role, team, company or culture.
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Areas For Improvement Example Answer #:
In my last job, I spoke with a lot of customers on the phone, and became quite good at it. However, a few other people on my team were responsible for most of the emailing when it came to customer service, so Im a bit rusty in this area. I think email communication is really vital in customer service, because one or two wrong words can lead to the message being interpreted incorrectly. So Ive been working on reviewing and brushing up on some of the best methods for making sure customers are satisfied with email communications.
This sample answer is an example of naming a real weakness or something you honestly feel needs improvement which is another perfectly fine way to answer this interview question.
Weve now looked at three example answers, each taking a slightly different approach:
Now before we wrap up this article, theres one final step you should put in ANY answer you give
Creative Ways To Stand Out In A Job Interview
In a competitive job market, many candidates who share similar qualifications are vying for the same opportunity. But you can gain an edge by doing something to distinguish yourself from other applicants and make a positive impression during a job interview, whether its in person or online.
Below are some tips from executives and entrepreneurs about creative approaches to interviewing that make candidates stand out in a good way.
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Tip : Dont Be Too Casual
If you are serious about getting the job, you should show it. Its great to be relaxed and comfortable, but keep it professional, and be respectful of others and their time.
I once had an interview with a chap – lets call him Amos. He waltzed in, 10 minutes late for the interview, with a coffee and pastry in hand. Turns out he was peckish, and made a detour for a snack, opting rather to be late for his interview, because well, hes awesome and well wait for him.
As soon as Amos sat down, he kicked off his shoes, propped his feet on the chair and proceeded to chow down his pastry. At this point, he hadnt greeted me yet, had not apologised for being late, and wasnt ready to start the interview. Instead, he expected me to sit there and wait for him to finish, because he thought he was already hot stuff at his current company.
Dont get me wrong: I am a huge fan of being relaxed during an interview, and I – as an interviewer – try hard to make candidates feel comfortable. At the same time, however, I expect candidates to show they are serious about the interview, and that its not just another chore they need to get done today.
Your attitude towards your interview says a lot about you, perhaps more than you realise. Keep that in mind when preparing for interviews.
Be Someone They Want To Spend Time With
If you’re applying for a full-time position, the interviewer will be looking at potentially spending 1.5 to 2 thousand hours with your over the next year.
They want to hire someone who can do the job, for sure. They also want to hire someone they can see themselves spending large parts of their day with, week after week.
It means that if your CV isn’t the most impressive, all is not lost. Equally, if you do have the most impressive CV, you’re not done. Much can be gained by the way you present yourself to others.
I would focus on three things:
1) Approach the interview as you would any conversation. Ask how their day’s been so far . Be visibly interested. Try not to look like you’d rather not be there.
2) Show some personality. Be genuine in your appearance and the answers you give. Why do you want to work here? What motivates you? What interests you? Avoid the generic copy-paste answers. Think about what’s true for you.
3) Smile. Use humour. Be sincere and professional, but don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s not the place to rehearse your stand-up routine, but it’s fine to use humour where appropriate. In my most recent interview, I’d been asking for a moment to think about virtually every question. As I was about to blurt out an answer as to what I’m not very good at, I made a tiny joke about how I didn’t need to think abut that one.
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Apply The Star Interview Structure
A common interview technique is STAR, which stands for:
- Situation: A situation or challenge faced
- Task: A task, duty, or responsibility of an individual
- Action: The action done to overcome, improve, or resolve an issue or challenge
- Result: The outcome of the actions taken
Candidates often use the STAR interview method when answering behavioural questions, like discussing a time they dealt with challenging customers or colleagues. The STAR structure for questions and answers can give you insight into how applicants approach problems and apply decision-making abilities to lead to positive outcomes. If an applicant doesnt answer fully, consider asking follow-up questions or guide them to be more specific about the situation.
How To Be A Good Interviewer
Interviewing is a crucial part of the recruiting process. To be a good interviewer, you have to be prepared, ask the right questions, listen carefully, and evaluate the candidate to see if they’re the right fit for your company.
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Interview Tips That Will Help You Get Hired
Even when you have gone on more interviews than you can count, job interviewing never seems to get any easier. With each job interview, you are meeting new people, selling yourself and your skills, and often getting the third degree about what you know or don’t know. And, you need to stay upbeat and enthusiastic through it all. This can be a challenge, especially when you’re interviewing for a job you would love to get hired for.
That said, there are ways to make a job interview feel much less stressful. Just a little preparation time can go a long way. The more time you take in advance to get ready, the more comfortable you’ll feel during the actual interview.
Remember, though, that a job interview is not an exam: you dont need to study for hours on end. Rather, you just need to do due diligence in researching the company, understand exactly what they are looking for in a new hire, and ensure that youre able to discuss your experience and what makes you a great fit for the job.
It is a good idea to focus on your communication skills in particular, so you can speak clearly and concisely about the assets you can offer the employer.
Ultimately, the key to effective interviewing is to project confidence, stay positive, and be able to share examples of your workplace skills and your qualifications for the job. Take the time to work on your interview skills so that you can develop effective strategies to use in all of your interviews.
Ask About The Persons Actions
It depends on the person, but usually I ask them about their specific habits and practices, says Jeff Goins. Im less interested in what they would write in a book and more interested in how they try to apply the ideals they write or speak about.
Jeff is trying to get under a persons rhetoric to see the routines theyve cultivated to be successful. If you can get people to describe their actions rather than their beliefs about themselves, youll see a clearer picture of them, one unmarred by slogans.
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Get Ready Ahead Of Time
Don’t wait until the last minute to pick out an interview outfit, print extra copies of your resume, or find a notepad and pen. Have one good interview outfit ready, so you can interview on short notice without having to worry about what to wear.
When you have an interview lined up, get everything ready the night before.
Not only will planning out everything buy you time in the morning, it can help reduce job search anxiety, and it will also save you from having to make decisions, which means you can use that brainpower for your interview.
Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the type of firm you are interviewing with. Bring a nice portfolio with extra copies of your resume. Include a pen and paper for note-taking.
If you’re interviewing virtually, have all the technology set and ready in advance. Do a trial run to be sure everything is working properly, and you’re comfortable with it.
What Not To Focus On
Even though there are things that you wish you could be doing better, the important factor in the way that you answer this question is to retain your confidence. Be confident in what you can do and then shed some light on what you could be doing better. Dont use this as an opportunity to talk about what you cant do. Use this as an opportunity to talk about what you do well and how you could be doing it even better.
Dont use this question as a platform to:
- Complain about the job.
- Talk about skills you dont have.
- Talk about things you wish were different.
- Dont use this as a platform to brag.
That wont go far with the hiring manager. Theyre not seeking your opinion of the world. And theyre also not looking for you to boast about yourself. Such an answer like, I work too late at the office all week. is one that will make you look bad. Because you are using it as a platform to try and boast about your efforts, it will have adverse effects.
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Remember The Interview Starts As Soon As You Leave The House
The interview starts long before you shake hands and sit down around the table. You never know who you might bump into as you get off your bus or train , or enter the companys building for all you know, your interviewer could be in the same coffee-bar queue as you. So make sure you project a friendly, confident, professional air from the moment you set off.
Doubtless youll have made sure you arrive early. Give yourself time to have a comfort break and make sure youre hydrated. Make conversation with the receptionist, switch off your phone and take in your surroundings you might notice something that will make a useful small-talk topic later. Dont try and cram in any last-minute facts you want to come across as calm and organised, not flustered and under-prepared.
Prepare Your Clothing In Advance
Next, you should try to choose what you will wear to the interview. Preparing what you wear before the day of your interview will give you enough time to ensure that everything is in order for your appearances. Try on your clothing for fit and determine if purchasing something new is in order. Perhaps you’ll decide upon needing accessories such as a belt, tie or stockings for a cleaner, composed look and will have time to put that together beforehand. Getting this together beforehand will prevent last-minute wardrobe mishaps. It will also save you precious time on the day of your interview.
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