Successful Interviews

Most people find the job interview to be one of the most stressful situations they are likely to encounter. The format can involve a panel of three or more interviewers, and this alone can be intimidating, especially when it is new experience for the candidate. It is quite normal to feel some apprehension as the interview date approaches, but some basic preparation and attention to detail can inspire confidence and improve one's chances of success.

Candidates must, first of all, be clear about the purpose of the interview. It is essential to understand the job description and what kind of skills will be needed to do the job effectively. The interviewing panel will want to know how the candidate's experiences and qualifications match the requirements of the job in order to make an intelligent selection. It is up to the job applicant to show the interviewers that he or she would be a viable choice.

Job interviews today can be significantly different from the traditional interview format. Past experience has always been an important factor in the decision-making process, but the emphasis has moved from the candidates' opinions to their achievements. The panel wants to know about the applicants' past successes and failures rather than listen to their plans for the future. This is called the behavior description interview, and it is used by most professional interview panels in the corporate world. It is important for candidates to prepare several examples of how they have achieved good results in previous jobs, and to relate this to the challenges of the new one.

Successful interviews require top physical and mental condition. Preparations must start several weeks before the actual interview date, and they should include proper eating habits and regular exercise. Adequate rest is also important. A balanced life style will ensure peak condition. The candidate who takes the time and care to prepare both physically and mentally will have the greatest chance of success.

On the morning of the interview, special rules apply. Relaxation is the key, and lots of time should be made available for final preparation. An early rise and short walk outside, followed by a very light breakfast, will achieve good results. Then some attention must be given to appropriate dress and grooming for the interview. Simple, conservative dress is the best option. Excessive jewelry, make-up, or flamboyancy must be avoided.

A success-oriented candidate will arrive at the interview location early, allowing adequate time to relax and attend to last-minute grooming. When called to the interview room, candidates should be aware of the power of first impressions. There is only one shot at this, and the course of the interview will be influenced by the panel's first perception of the applicant. A confident entry and a friendly, enthusiastic smile will go a long way towards creating the right environment for a successful interview.

Most interviews begin with an invitation to talk about oneself. Candidates may be asked why they are interested in the job, or why they are seeking a job change at this time. The first question is almost always one of little significance, and it merely gives the candidate an opportunity to begin on a relaxed note. Subsequent questions are more important, however, and it is important to listen carefully to what is being asked. It is better to ask for clarification than to answer questions that have not been asked, and applicants will be better received if they are honest and sincere about questions they cannot answer.

At the end of an interview, candidates may be invited to ask a question of their own. Rather than decline the invitation, it can be useful to show the panel that one is interested and enthusiastic about the company's structure and organization. A well-chosen question will convey the idea that this applicant is eager to work, and it may well be the final nudge needed to confirm his or her selection.

Information is for educational and informational purposes only and is not be interpreted as financial or legal advice. This does not represent a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security. Please consult your financial advisor.