While the idea of being invited to interview may sound exciting to some, to others, this situation is enough to turn them to jelly (full of fright). In fact, in some cases, up to 10% of candidates don’t show up to interviews. When called, many cite no reason or excuse. Perhaps nerves have got the better of them and fear takes over with some thinking “What’s the point of putting myself through this interview, I won’t get the job anyway”. In other words, they have thrown in the towel before the bell for the 1st round has even rung.
The reason many dread (fear) interviews is often due to a lack of preparation coupled with putting too much pressure on themselves. Fear of interview is like most other fear i.e. to overcome it requires a change in mindset. So, how does one go about this? Simple.
Start to view interviews as an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to practice marketing yourself, and an opportunity to learn more about different organisations and sectors. Indeed, prior to presenting yourself before a panel for interview, you need to research, research and do more research about the company and the what the job entails. By the time you then arrive for interview, you are so prepared, the interview feels more like a meeting with people you already know. However, I accept that due to shyness, nervousness and other reasons, not everyone can change overnight and so it is for this reason that I have provided the tips below.
PRE-INTERVIEW STAGE 1.Mindset – Looking for a job is a job in itself. You therefore need to maintain a positive attitude no matter how despondent you feel inside. If you are still at university then socialise and mix with A & B grade, hard-working students. Keep away from negative friends or friends who think you are too boring or those who think you are taking your studies or job hunting too seriously.
2.Treat job hunting as a (research) project – keep copies of correspondence, whom you wrote to and when, their job title, what was their response (including rejections to ensure you do not send duplicate applications). Some companies may take weeks to respond so make sure you’ve got all these details to hand as you may be called in and yet don’t remember the job details.
3.Research the company – Always research/google the company you are applying to. It is very off putting as a recruiting manager to receive a covering letter from someone who has clearly not researched the company. Some candidates even incorrectly spell the name of the organisation. So, earn a few brownie points by doing your research – easy points to grab since many of your fellow competitors will not have done so.
4.Contact people who are already in this job – If you read about someone who is doing the job you love, google them and then call their office to ask for advice as to how you may break into this sector. This may sound audacious but most human beings are reasonable and so would find it very difficult to reject a request from a young student or graduate asking for advice. It is impressive to get a call from a pro-active young person who is using their initiative. However, bear in mind that you may be calling them at a busy period, so ask them when would be a good time for you to call – making clear, you only need five minutes of their time. After all, if this conversation goes well, he/she may agree to: speak with you again; meet with you; or agree for you to email them. Make sure you have a set of 2-3 questions in front of you when you do call this person – don’t waste this opportunity but ensure you keep this first call short and focused. If you find that after this call or follow up calls that your dream career is actually not what you thought it was, then you should not lose heart. Sifting yourself out of a career is just as important as sifting yourself in. Alternatively, if calling a stranger sounds too audacious for you, then how about your 500+ Facebook friends? Are you telling me none has a parent, brother, sister, friend or cousin in your “dream” career?
5.Career Fairs/Company Road shows – Even if you are not due to graduate for another year or two, you should still attend career fairs. This will be an opportunity for you to ask questions without worrying about looking uninformed. Start your job search preparations at least a year before your graduation. NOTE – Always be smartly dressed for career fairs. First impressions do count and, as most of your fellow students will have turned up in jeans or casual wear, why not stand out from the crowd? Show potential employers that you mean business. For those who attended our careers fair back in May this year, your professional attitudes and adherence to professional dress code was noted. Well done!
6.Be up to date with Current Affairs! – You must always read or listen to the news every day. You must be aware of what is going on not only in your country but be aware of major world events which may impact the sector in which you are targeting? For example, if the price of oil rises in the market and you are targeting companies in the airline sector, then this rose will have an impact. The BBC radio (world service) and/or website cover a wide range of international news. Listening to or reading information from orgs. including the BBC is also useful to help improve your spoken as well as written English.