How to ace your interview
Posted on 20th March 2022
The similarity between sport and interviews is there for all to see.
Typically within the sporting arena one competitor isn’t beaten by another. The loser is normally beaten by himself whilst the winner triumphs in the internal battle with himself; a battle that is often far harder than the so called real battle with his so called competitor. Jack Nicklaus said that he didn’t win golf tournaments he just waited for the other guys to lose them!
An interview is just the same.
There are two battles you will have with yourself prior to an interview and if you win those battles you will give yourself the very best chance of success.
Failing to prepare thoroughly is one of the single biggest reasons for failure at interview. We have all listened to the guy down the pub for loves “winging it”; but do you really want to be like him? The most successful people in the world don’t “wing it” – they are fastidious planners with goals and plans that they review on a daily basis.
If you fail to plan for an interview you’ve just lost the first battle with yourself. Let’s face it I don’t know many people who love planning, so we know it’s going to be a battle. Losing a battle that you knew you were going to have is even worse isn’t it? So not preparing for your interview, is the equivalent of losing a battle with yourself, a battle you knew you were going to have!
But here is the good news, getting prepared is easy.
You don’t need to suddenly become an expert; in fact that could be just as off putting for an interviewer as you being unprepared. That said you need a good grasp of the basics in your tool kit. The following will make you’re more than prepared:
What is the correct name of the company!
How do they make a profit? Or if they are a charity who do they serve?
What’s the driving passion of the business? (Their website or a catch phrase should help because every little helps doesn’t it?!!!!)
Who are the company’s main competitors? Gain an appreciation of where the competitor may be stronger (and what could your company do about it?)
Has the company been in the news recently? If so, why?
Once you have this basic but solid understanding of the company, (which will take no longer than 30 minutes research on Google) the job description and the purpose of the role (you’re going to be interviewed for) will make far more sense – and so will you, when you confidently answer the questions in your interview!
Remember, talking endlessly about your past achievements will not cut it. Your interviewer will want to discuss what you’re both there to discuss; the job, the company, what’s currently challenging that company and the opportunity that now exists (possibly for you) and your relevant skills.
Ok, we all get scared at interviews. A few nerves are good; they show you care. But we want to avoid complete debilitation – don’t we?!!
Being prepared will give your confidence a massive boost and so will a little bit of positive thinking. You must not defeat yourself by allowing your “negative” self to play the tapes (in your mind) of when you last messed up! This is the equivalent of the golfer facing a shot over the water, who prepares for the shot by remembering the last time he hit this shot into the water! Guess what he’ll do the same again because that’s what your mind has just told your body to do. Don’t worry if you don’t play golf, we’ve all got examples in our life when we’ve focussed all our emotional energy on what we didn’t want to happen and brought into effect.
So it’s crucial that you develop a positive self-image. Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we achieve in life.* Remember that because we are what we think about, you can set your thermostat to whatever temperature you like!
If this all sounds a little be to airy fairy for you (it does for most people because we’ve all been told that things are just meant to be or not meant to be – this is all part of the “winging it” mentality; which should be completely discarded because it’s rubbish) hang in there. Spend the night before (the interview) playing the positive tapes in your mind – the ones where you confidently walk into the interview room (free of anxiety), ask great questions and give equally brilliant answers to the very nice person who is interviewing you!
If by now you’ve filled your mind with positive thoughts as to how your interview will proceed, once you’re actually in there you’ll achieve this confident persona by taking control in a positive and confident way.
A great way to do this is to relax and speak first. Do your best to get the interviewer talking by asking questions about the things you weren’t able to find answers to in your research. This will be really easy if you’ve done your research. Most company websites will post news updates, so all you’ll need to do is pick a story and a sensible question relating to this story and ask the question as you walk towards the interview room.
If you are good at your job you can be good at interviewing too – we absolutely promise you. Remember your biggest opponent is yourself. Don’t defeat yourself by failing to prepare or by letting anxiety undermine the positive self-image you have developed. Don’t compete with yourself. Get prepared and take control.
Ascendant Recruitment are here to help. If you’re looking for a recruitment agency in Milton Keynes that you can rely on, get in touch today.
*p24. The Magic of Thinking Big.David J. Schwartz.
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