How to Succeed in a Job Interview

09/03/18  |  Arielle Supino  |  692 views

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It’s Tuesday night and you’re at home, pacing around the kitchen, stressing out about the big interview you have Friday morning for your dream job. You genuinely feel as though you have the knowledge and the experience you need to excel in the position you applied for, but you’re fearful of messing up in front of the interviewer and/or not showcasing yourself in the most optimal way so as to prove you’re not only qualified, but the best choice. What do you do?

First and foremost, I’m going to let you know that being worried is normal, and that what you’re feeling is common. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Nasreen Khatri in a quote highlighted in a recent Huffington Post article,  "Job interviews can create a 'perfect storm' for anxiety to spike because they usually involve at least some of the following possible triggers: public speaking or presentations; the possibility of feeling inadequate, embarrassed or like a failure..." and the list goes on. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to doubt yourself and worry about whether or not you can pull things off.

That being said, before you do anything else, it is absolutely essential that you work towards building your self-confidence. You’re NOT a failure and nothing bad is going to happen to you during the interview, so there’s no use in being afraid of public speaking, inadequacy, or anything else for that matter.  If you got an interview, it’s because the interviewer already recognizes that you fulfill the basic requirements for the role. Now they want to get to know you better and assess how well you’ll fit into the organizational culture of the company. If you have faith in the fact that you have a solid personality and that you would in fact fit in with the company, you’ll have a much easier time convincing the interviewer of that!

Once you’ve taken the aforementioned advice into consideration, you’re ready to start looking into what you can do to place yourself a notch above the competition.


The following are 5 steps you can follow in order to succeed in your job interview:

1. Prepare

There are two subsections to this point...

a. Do your research (this one goes without saying). Research the company, the role you applied for, the competition, the market… the more you know the more at ease you’ll feel walking into the interview.

b. Whatever you do, DO NOT memorize a speech of things to say in advance, this will only add stress to the situation, as you’ll be trying to recall what you planned on saying, and the whole thing will seem unnatural once in motion. DO, however, list out the relevant extracurriculars you partook in, conferences you attended, past jobs you held, key personal characteristics/facts, etc. on a word document, or a piece of paper. That way, when the interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself, or to name your strengths and weaknesses, for example, you’ll already have a number of options to relay and won’t have to resort to saying any random point that comes to mind.


2. Greet the interviewer

It’s interview day! The first impression you make on the interviewer is the one that counts. According to professional recruitment consultancy; Robert Walters, “First impressions can have a lasting impact on peoples' feelings about you as an employee, so the first 30 seconds of an interview are arguably the most important”. Always remember that!

When you walk in, shake the interviewer’s hand, then repeat their name after they say it. The point of doing this is to establish a personal connection, as well as to help you recall their name in order to be able to repeat it when you’re thanking them at the end.


3. Answer questions using the STAR format

STAR stands for: situation, task, action, result. According to thebalancecareers.com, Using this method of answering interview questions lets you provide concrete examples or proof that you possess the experience and skills for the job at hand”.

Here’s how it works:

Let’s say you’re asked to explain a time when you demonstrated leadership skills.

-Situation: Paint a picture of a situation you were once in where you had to display these skills (you may have written said situation down earlier in step 1).

-Task: What was the task you had to complete at the time?

-Action: Which actions did you take in order to accomplish the task?

-Result: What was the result of the actions you took?

If you follow this format, you’ll be better able to structure your responses in a concise, meaningful, strategic way.


4. Ask questions

At the end of most interviews, the interviewer asks if you have any questions for them. Guess what, you do! Always have 1-2 questions prepared so as to prove that you’re interested in assessing whether the company is a good fit for you, and you for it, and also to show that you’re inquisitive.

*Bonus: take a risk and ask if there’s anything they feel you may be lacking in terms of experiences that you can speak to. This will give you the opportunity to convince them that what you lack, you make up for in personality and or other experiences you may not have focused enough on throughout the answers you gave to the previous questions.


5. Follow up

Always ALWAYS send a follow up e-mail once the interview is over thanking the interviewer for their time once again, and maybe even reiterating why you would love to work for the company. It’s important to establish an e-mail connection with them in order to keep the conversation going, and to leave a solid lasting impression.

You’re finally ready to ace that interview Friday morning! You’re qualified, you’re ready, now all you need to do is rest and relax. You want to show up looking cool, calm, collected, and like a winning candidate.

Good luck! 


Cover photo credit - Pinterest

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