Job interviews are all about one thing: selling yourself. Time changes, the job market changes but you can be sure that successful interviews always share the same characteristics. That doesn’t mean we all know how to be successful in an interview. Sometimes it’s not that easy to understand and do it in real life experiences, but we want you to shine and we want to give you a few tips for a successful interview.
Quick spoiler: be yourself, but with style!
Where are you going?
Would you dress your suit just to go to the butcher? Or would you quote James Joyce when talking to kids? Would you chew a gum in front of the Queen?
If you answered“No” to these simple questions, we’re on a good path.
Basically, first thing to know is: where are you going? What kind of company did you apply for? For which department?
In order to get these information and understand the company culture, it is always a good idea to google the company name and take a look at the institutional website of the company.
At first glance you can understand whether the company has an informal approach or a classic one, since this is usually mirrored in the website layout.
Then, visit the “About us” section of the company. The name of this section may vary, but you usually find it in the footer of the website, at the very bottom of every page.
In this page you will usually find informations about the company, photos of the office and many other useful insights. Take a look at the pictures: how is the people dressed? Are there natural photos or just posing? Are they group photos or individual portraits? Do people laugh or just smile?
Understanding these simple aspects can help you understand how to dress and what to expect from the interview.
As for dressing, if you see that men in pictures always wear suit, go for it. If they are all in t-shirts and shorts, you can opt for a casual dress, with a shirt and maybe a cardigan. In any case, try to be well dressed to make a good impression without being awkward.
Women can always wear professional dresses for office jobs.
On the company website you can also find interesting information about the company history, culture, mission and much more. You better read them before the interview: showing that you studied the company will make a good impression on your interviewer. Be careful not to be an annoying Know-it-all, that could be bad.
Imagine your interview
Now that you know where you’re going, you can have an idea of what the interview may be like.
Of course, you’ll never know which questions you’ll have to ask, but at least you should have an idea on how to behave.
In fact, you should tailor your presentation and answers according to the specific job and work environment.
Some questions are very common, and you should be ready to answer them. “Tell me about yourself” and “Why us?” are classics.
- As for the first question, find the key points of your work history and present them concisely. It would be better if you talk about experiences that are somehow connected to the job you’re applying for. If there are none, you can still say that during one of the previous experiences you learnt something (a tool, an attitude…) that can be very useful for the job.
- The second question (“Why us?”) is much more intriguing and is very important. Therefore, think carefully about why did you decide to apply for that job in that company. Do not talk about money at this time, it wouldn’t make a good impression. Think about the reason why you choose you send the CV to that firm and not to others. What did you see in that specific company? What did you like?
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Now, the most important thing: be yourself.
Think at the interview as a first meeting with a girl (or a boy). You’re knowing each other for the first time. Maybe you have been attracted by that girl for a very long time, you got this date and you’re super excited about that. You go out, start talking, have dinner, then, suddenly, you realize she’s not the one. Talking to her makes you yawn all the time and she’s so boring.
Ok, that’s pretty much the same: job interviews are dates.
You should impress just being yourself.
If you show a different image of yourself, you can even succeed and be hired, but then, sooner or later, your real self needs to show up. Otherwise you will be forced to act every day as someone else, and this can be highly frustrating.
Instead, if during the interview you behave normally, you will show your real self from the beginning.
This doesn’t mean that you should act like you’re not interested in the job, but you shouldn’t joke the interviewer. You can of course emphasize enthusiasm and willingness to do great. But being yourself will help you to be more confident, to control your body and words, because you will not need to be worried about acting.
It’s important to engage your interlocutor and show you are interested in the details of the job offer, so ask questions. They can be about the role, about the company, about the contract or your interviewers’ experience. Remember to ask anything you are unsure of in order to get the whole picture.
Sometimes the interview can be very fast because recruiters don’t have the time to chat and they focus on the most important questions in a short period of time. Don’t worry about that, your job interview is as valid as the others, just concise. In fact, many companies are starting to have group job interviews, so that they can save a few hours and compare different candidates at the same time.
Now you know how to be successful in an interview, you just need to practice (even in front of a mirror or with a friend) to gain confidence.
Do you have other suggestions on how to be successful in a job interview? Can’t wait to read your ideas!