How To Ace Your Job Interview by Annabel Candy

InterviewGuest Post by Annabel Candy of  Get In the Hot Spot.

We all get nervous at job interviews but it’s like anything else in life – the more you do them the less you fear them.

I’m famously work shy and also quite shy around strangers but strangely, although I’ve certainly experienced failure, I can’t remember having a job interview and not getting the job.

Once when I was being interviewed for a job in Wellington, New Zealand there was an earthquake. Me and the male interviewer were on the 5th floor of a small tower block when a pot plant started shaking and the buildings outside swayed dangerously. Wellington is on a major fault line and gets a lot of earthquakes but I’d only just moved there and had never experiencd one before. I knew the drill though and suggested to the interviewer that we get under the desk. He declined with a knowing smirk but went on to give me the job anyway.

I think being shy has helped me do well in job interviews because to calm my nerves I spend a lot of time preparing for them. I recommend you do too.

Here are my interview tips:

1. Appearance

First impressions count. Make sure you have neat, clean appropriate dress and hair. Wear clothes that are comfortable as that will make you feel more confident. I have this navy pinstripe business suit only ever wear for interviews. I’m more a jeans and t-shirt person but I always wear that suit to interviews – it says successful, confident business woman better than I ever could with words.

2. Speaking

Practice aloud and in the mirror. I know it shouldn’t be hard but it’s helped me lots to practice holding my hand out for a shake and saying “I’m Annabel, great to meet you.” I think it’s easier for men, they shake hands a lot but us chicks need to practice it.

3. Prepare

Come up with 20 questions the interviewer might ask, jot down replies and practice being interviewed aloud. You can role play with a friend or just be the interviewer and the victim yourself but you need to practice talking out loud. Ooops, I mean interviewee not victim. Questions you should be ready for are: Tell me a bit about yourself. Why do you want the job? Why should we employ you over anyone else? What experience have you got that relates to this position? What are your weaknesses? For the last question try telling them you’re a perfectionist or come up with some other weakness that they will see as a strength. Make sure you speak slowly and clearly. Don’t rush your words and garble because you’re neverous. Plan at least one question to ask them at the end too.

3. Be still

Sit still, mirror the interviewer’s body language, don’t fiddle with anything or twitch.

4. Go slowly

Take time to think. If there’s a hard question you don’t have to answer it fast. Stall for time while you consider the best reply by saying something like “Hmmm, that’s an interesting question. I’ll have to think about that one.”

5. Be quiet

Know when to stop talking. Don’t ramble on or give them more information than they need. There are bound to be pauses while the inteviewer processes your excellent answer and thinks up their next question.

I’m famously work shy and also quite shy around strangers but strangely, although I’ve certainly experienced failure, I can’t remember having a job interview and not getting the job.

6. Be positive

Don’t complain, bitch or express disatisfaction with previous jobs, co-workers or bosses. If they want to know why you left or are looking for a new job say you want to explore new avenues, work with a more expereinced team or gain wider experience yourself.

7. Smile

If you pretend to be confident you’ll feel more confident and come across as confident. Remember the interviewer is just a regular person like you and they might be feeling nervous too. Try to crack a few jokes. Challenge yourself and see if you can make them smile too.

8. Salary

Don’t discuss it until they give you the job. If they ask you turn it back on them and ask what the range is for this position. If they push you say you’d prefer to talk about it when you’ve got the position.

9. Be polite

Thank them at the end of the interview and send them a brief follow up email saying you’re looking forward to hearing from them again.

My friends laugh when I tell them I’m shy so I must have grown good at pretending not to be. I think most people who come across as confident make an effort to appear that way and you should too.

It will get easier to do interviews. Take three deep breaths before you go into the interview room and smile. Really believe that you’re the best person for the job and that if you don’t get the job it’s their loss as much as yours. If that does happen think of it as great interview practice and line up another one as soon as possible.

Annabel Candy writes about small business Internet marketing at Get In the Hot Spot. She runs a web design company with her husband and manages to stay (mostly) focused on designing websites for small businesses and helping people live their dream despite the general mayhem created by their three children.

4 Responses to How To Ace Your Job Interview by Annabel Candy
  1. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
    June 11, 2010 | 6:03 am

    Hi Jessica, thanks for popping this up again. Hope it’s useful and wish you success in everything!
    Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot´s last blog post ..How to Win Business Online

  2. Jessica
    June 15, 2010 | 12:28 am

    Thanks Annabel! It’s great to get some of the content back! Best wishes to you in all of your endeavors.

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    June 16, 2010 | 11:22 am

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