Strategies for interview nerves
Josephine GillespieWhile interview nerves can affect even the most seasoned job hunter, there are strategies candidates can employ to show themselves in the best light. Hudson Human Resources principal consultant Caroline Mathers said preparation greatly enhanced a candidate's chances of performing well at any interview.
Ms Mathers said that preparation included researching the organisation and understanding its product, size, location and potential for growth, preparing questions to ask during the interview and ensuring you know how to get to the interview in order to arrive on time.
"Normally towards the end, you do have to ask a question, rather than just sitting there with a blank look, which requires some preparation,'' Ms Mathers said. "One suggested question is how they would describe the organisational culture. "This focuses not on the skill set the employer is looking for but the `cultural fit'.
"It may be the culture is not necessarily what the potential employee is looking for.'' Human Resources consultant Simone Mitchell said visual clues and body language were also used by the employer to gauge a candidate's suitability for a role.
"Dress appropriately and relatively conservatively,'' Ms Mitchell said. "Pay attention to the way you present yourself.
"Employers are not only paying attention to what you say but the softer signs that people forget about like how a candidate holds themselves in an interview.
"Take the time to listen to what they have to say and maintain eye contact. "If the interview is with two people, balance the eye contact with both.'' Ms Mitchell said candidates should also be prepared to answer commonly asked questions such as `what are your career aspirations' and `how have you worked as part of a team', with concrete examples.
"During the interview there is the potential for the interviewee to provide answers which are supported by examples,'' Ms Mitchell said. "There are questions which come up time and time again in interviews, like talking about strengths and weaknesses, where you see yourself in the future and how you have worked as part of a team.
"Providing solid examples comes back to preparation. "Employers are looking for good responses so it's important to be succinct when giving examples, rather than going off on to a 10-minute tangent.''
Ms Mathers said there were guaranteed ways interviewees could lose themselves "brownie points'' during an interview, including giving monosyllabic answers, making derogatory remarks about former employers, over answering questions and not answering questions truthfully.
"Know the achievements on the resume and make sure they're factual,'' she said. "You need to know the resume intimately as the client may want to probe in further detail,'' Ms Mitchell said.
She said there was nothing to be gained from lying, as the candidate would either be shown to be dishonest during the interview or find themselves out of the depth in a position they were not qualified to carry out.
Candidates can also leave a lasting impression on the employer by thanking them for their time through a politely worded email or phone call after the interview.