Set yourself up for interview success
Feeling nervous before an interview for a job you are excited about is a very common reaction, and an experience that most of us have had at least once! Creating a positive mindset, preparing for the interview and practising your communication skills are different tips and tricks that will build your confidence for your next interview.
At Elite, our goal is to help you feel calmer, better prepared and ready to smash your next interview – so check out our top three strategies to set yourself up for success!
Three strategies to build your interview confidence and skills
1. Set your interview mindset
Feeling stressed before an interview is not a bad thing. Athletes capitalise on stress to perform better, and you can do the same thing before an interview by thinking about your mindset. We recently covered mindset in-depth in a free masterclass and have broken down the basics into a few questions for you to reflect on before your next interview:
Is this a one-sided interview or a meeting?
Interviews are often thought of as one-side conversations where a panel or interviewer asks questions about your skills and experience. However, an interview is also your opportunity to evaluate your potential employer. Using your interview as a time to ask questions about the workplace culture, flexible work practices, or employee community groups will help to make the interview feel more like a meeting. My personal favourite is to ask each interviewer what is one thing they enjoy and one aspect they would change about the company’s culture!
- Could this be an opportunity for growth? Interviews are excellent learning opportunities, regardless of whether or not your application is successful. Applying a growth mindset, consider what other opportunities your interview presents. Your next interview could be a chance to practice your presenting skills, understand more about a new industry or gain clarity about what you really want from your career.
- Who is the interviewer? The people who conduct interviews are not omnipotent individuals with unlimited power. Often, they are managers, human resources staff, and potential colleagues interested in finding the best skills and person for a role. So to remove some of the mystery, look your interviewer up on LinkedIn before the interview. You might even find some commonalities or points of interest that you can ask them about at the end of your interview!
2. Review the job ad and position description
Reading through the details and documents on the job advert is a quick way to identify the essential responsibilities and objectives of the role. For most government positions, you can also refer to the leadership or competency framework that outlines the expectations of each job level. Once you write the key topics down, we recommend listing the skills you need to fulfil the position.
Then, think about where you have demonstrated or could transfer skills from a past job and write down those examples. Those examples will become your answers to behavioural and situational questions about how your skills will suit this role you’ve applied for.
And don’t be alarmed if you find that you don’t have 100% of the skills needed for the job. If you are confident that you can leverage past experiences and are willing to complete training to learn new skills, apply for the job anyway – and you might be surprised at the result!
3. Record yourself answering interview questions
Recording yourself practising answering interview questions on your phone can feel super awkward. Still, it is one of the best ways to check that your interview responses are informative and engaging. When you watch your practice recording, consider both what you say and how you say it using these prompts:
- What is the speed and tone of your speech? Is it too fast or too slow? Do you add emphasis in the right places?
- Did you answer all parts of the question? Or perhaps, did you add extra details that aren’t necessary to convey the context?
- Are your examples explained in an order that makes sense? Do you use the STAR model to answer the question or another method to keep your answers on track?
- Is your body language engaging and open? What happens to your hands, posture and eye contact when you speak?
BONUS TIP: Preparing for online interviews
Post-covid, more interviews than ever before are being conducted using video conferencing. To have the create the best environment for your online interview, we recommend:
- Positioning your computer in an area with an uncluttered and uniformly coloured background behind you. Or, if you’re using Zoom, you may prefer to change or blur your background.
- Considering what light is available and position yourself so that the light is in front of you and highlights your face. If it is night-time or in a dark room, move a lamp in front of you to create the best lighting.
- Setting up your screen and desk to support your interview. If you have interview notes, you can even stick them on post-it notes around your screen!
- If you like to sip water during your interview, use a water bottle rather than a cup. This will prevent you from accidentally knocking it over if nerves get in the way.
- Removing distractions from the area. Children, pets, partners and social media should all be moved to other locations for the duration of your interview.
- Lastly, test your setup. Call a colleague or friend to check that your microphone and camera is working. And don’t forget to ensure that your laptop is plugged in with a full battery.
Looking for more interview support?
If you’ve found this information helpful and would like further one-on-one support for your next interview, we’d love to complete an individually-tailored Interview Coaching Zoom Session with you!