Everything always seems to go wrong at an interview – sweaty palms, stumbling words and, too often, a mind blank. So how do we avoid it? It’s all about how you interact with the employer.
- Prepare: You could lose before you even begin the interview if you don’t know who the employer is. Look up the company, what they do, their mission and any upcoming events. Find out who will be on the interview panel and research their role in the company (top tip: check out their profile on LinkedIn). And know their names! It is a common mistake to be underprepared and not know who is interviewing you.
- Common questions: If you don’t know what to expect, you’ll most likely freeze on the spot. So, go into the interview knowing common questions and how you may respond to them. An example, usually asked at the beginning is: why did you apply for this job? And you’ll be comfortable with answering it because from your research you’ll know the goals of the company and how you fit with them.
- Short and simple: Don’t complicate what you need to say. Ask questions to clarify what the employer has asked you. It’s difficult to interact when you don’t understand what someone is saying, so have clear communication. When you’re prepared, it’ll be easier to break the ice and have a comfortable interview.
- STAR approach: Employers always ask for examples because they use your past to predict the future. To keep your example concise briefly outline the Situation and Task, and describe your Action, then elaborate your Response. They want to know about your response more than the actual situation so it will help you get to the point and impress the employer!
- Non-verbal communication: Interaction is not just with words. Your body language will impact your ability to interact with the employer. A confident handshake, good posture and eye contact will help you both feel comfortable and open to talking.
CSU’s Career Development Service is available to help you improve these skills and you can either talk to your lecturer about holding a careers workshop for your class or book a personal appointment.
Interviews seem like a lot of work, but putting in a little time could be all the difference you need to land the next one! All the best.