So, you have landed the job interview – awesome! You may now be feeling a mix of ‘triumph’ after being shortlisted and ‘anxiety’ as you desire to be selected.​​ The best way to approach a job interview is to remain calm so that you can strategize how you can stand out before the panel interviewers.

Here are four tips that can help you to be on top of your next job interview.

  1. Do research on your prospective employer

We spend at least 40 hours each week at ‘work’ whether the workspace is physical or virtual. It would be good if you figure out early what the culture of your prospective employer is, before you sign the contract.

Googling the company profile is always a good place to start. Look for articles, blogs and the company’s LinkedIn profile. An online search of the company’s website and social media pages should give you a sense of the company’s mission, vision and corporate social responsibility focus. If possible, speak with current and past employees to get a sense of their experience on the ground. However, be mindful to leave room to decide for yourself when you go through the actual interview.

Having an above surface analysis of your prospective employer allows you to position yourself as an asset to the company during your interview, as it will enable you to connect your skills and knowledge to the company’s during the interview. This research also helps you to confirm whether the company’s ethos is a good fit for you.

  1. Dress your best, but dress comfortably

Whether the interview is being conducted on screen or in person, wearing your best outfit to a job interview is always a good choice when you want to make your best impression. Dressing well helps to make us feel more confident and feeling confident during an interview will undoubtedly help you to shine beyond your cover letter. However, ensure that your snazzy outfit is not a cause for discomfort when you sit or walk.

If possible, dress for your interview in a style that fits the dress code of the industry or organization that you want to work in. It could help your employer to visualize you in the role and company.

  1. Arrive at the interview at least 30 minutes early

When you arrive early to the interview, you get the opportunity to settle any nerves you may have, complete any required applicants’ paperwork and observe the tone of the workspace. Being relaxed in your interview will allow you to come off more confident and answer the questions posed by the panel with more ease.

If it is a face-to-face interview, aim to arrive at your interview location at least 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start time. If it is a virtual interview, check in at least 15 minutes prior to the start of the interview. Also select a space that has a background that is not too distracting and where you can avoid sound disruptions. If possible, use noise canceling headphones to help control the sound environment. For virtual interviews, it is a good practice to test the internet connection prior to the interview to ensure that you have strong connectivity.

Punctuality also shows your prospective employer that you are someone who respects appointments/time, and that could definitely work in your favour.

  1. Present your best self during the interview

Some people believe that one should put on a good show during a job interview. However, if that ‘good show’ means that you are pretending to be someone else, then you may be setting yourself up to fail in the long run. Acting like someone else cannot be sustained and when you fall out of character, you may be perceived as being dishonest or lacking integrity.

A better approach would be to present your best self during your job interview. You can do so by:

  • Being truthful in your responses
  • Being upbeat and positive in how you speak about your personal and positive journey
  • Maintaining eye contact with your panel as you speak
  • Maintaining a pleasant demeanor by smiling at appropriate times
  • Sitting upright throughout the interview
  • Not being long-winded in your responses

A job interview is a learning opportunity, so whether or not you are selected for the job; try to find at least three things that you learned during the interview that you could use to improve your life as a professional. This could be a tip from one of your interviewers, your ability/inability to answer a question well or mentions of an area of specialty in your field that you had not thought of learning before.

Having mock interviews with family and friends can also help you to get ready to ace your interview. It can also be fun!

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A 5-year project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank that will provide Jamaicans with access to training and better jobs in the global services sector, namely in knowledge process outsourcing, information technology outsourcing and business process outsourcing.

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