"Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do." -Brian Tracy

You couldn't sleep the night before, your stomach is churning, your palms are sweating, and you feel as if you can't breathe anymore, what is about to happen? A job interview. Being invited for an interview is a huge compliment to your skills since it is estimated that for a single job position, there are over 200 applicants and only four to six that are chosen for an interview.

Nevertheless, while an interview is a testament to your skills, that doesn't make it any easier. For instance, many individuals view the process of finding a job as a pit of bottomless stress. Why though? The factors of having to create a CV, writing a noteworthy cover letter, continually applying for jobs, and charming recruiters during the interview process all contribute to anxiety-filled moments that make even the most chill individuals basket cases.

Since the stress of completing a job interview has been likened to the anxiety experienced in other life events such as the death of a family member, divorce, retirement, and the loss of a job, if you asked a working professional if they wanted to start from the interview process again, the unanimous answer would be NO!

Though undeniably stressful, after the days of Uni or vocational training are passed, the fight to find a job that suits your skills and knowledge most definitely includes a job interview. Aspects such as shaky heads, speaking too much or too little, not being good enough, and making a fool of themselves, all contribute to the fears of an interview.

Also, since the competition to find a job in today's world is exceptionally fierce, even those with stellar qualifications have trouble finding employment in their specific field of expertise; therefore, the time to shine and rise above the rest is during the interview! But what can an applicant in the UK do to avoid embarrassment and ensure success from the get-go to prevent endless anxiety-filled interviews?

Without further ado, in today's article, to make sure everyone succeeds and gets the job of their dreams, Superprof has included essential tips on how to identify the distinct types of interviews, how to reduce stress before an interview, how to dress for an interview, and how to effectively prepare.

Identifying the Four Types of Interviews

finding success on an interview
A panel interview with many recruiters may seem terrifying yet it is good news since the hiring process will be faster than expected. (Source: Unsplash)

Though you have been mentally preparing yourself in the last few months of Uni or vocational training that you will have to face the real world and start applying for jobs that will launch your career, the stress of showing up at a job interview is not experienced until the last moment and it is nearly unrivalled. 

While it is essential to mention that many students of further education have applied for jobs to support themselves during their schooling, it is one thing to apply for a job as a waitress or store clerk and a completely other experience being interviewed for an employment position that you really want; the overall stakes are much higher.

Therefore, success is the only option for many who want to enter the job force in a career that is tailormade for them.

What Can Be Done to Succeed?

Since your already impressed the recruiter or employer with your outstanding resume and charming cover letter, the pressure is on to convince them that you're the best for the job.

Preparation is the key to success. Consequently, the following are the four types of interviews experienced in the job force and how you can prepare for them:

  • A Phone or Video Call: probably the most modern way of having an interview that was unheard of in past decades, is via a video calling service such as Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime. It is important to state that if you are invited to interview via a phone or video call, it probably won't be your last interview; if they like you! Recruiters are taking full advantage of modern-day technology to make the first contact with candidates before inviting them to meet face-to-face. Applicants should prepare accordingly and take video call interviews as serious as any other interview.
  • Competency Test: to show that you have the skills for the job, employers usually send a competency test to vet candidates. Competency tests are designed to evaluate teamwork, responsibility, leadership, problem-solving, and communication skills. It is essential to mention that competency tests greatly depend on the job for which you are applying. For instance, to get a job working as a blog writer, the employers might ask the applicant to write a short article demonstrating their writing abilities.
  • Panel Interview: probably the most nervewracking of all types of interviews, a panel interview is designed to speed up the interview process by having candidates build a rapport with many interviewers at the same time. Although stressful, panel interviewing is faster than all other types and recruiters always give enough time to prepare.
  • Assessment Centre: in recent years many assessment centres have become experts in offering an interview for the recruiters/employers. Experts at assessment centres test many skills, conduct interviews, and encourage presentation projects.

Before concluding this section, we cannot stress enough the fact that preparation is undeniably important in all four of the previously mentioned types of interviews. 

But what if after trying so hard you still can't relieve the stress that you have before an interview? Read the following subheading to find out more!

How to Reduce Stress Before an Interview

the best interviews
Taking time to relax and reduce stress is essential before a big job interview. (Source: pixabay)

Not stressing out and remaining chill is our number one piece of advice to put into practice before an interview. However, it's way easier said than done! Recruiters are like sharks, kind sharks but sharks nonetheless, and they sense fear better than anyone else in the interview process. As imperfect humans, we tend to overthink and create our anxieties that end up crippling our progress.

Nevertheless, many steps should be applied to reduce stress and ensure success. For example, a brilliant first step is to complete an interview simulation before the big day with a friend acting as the recruiter or hiring a fantastic personal development on Superprof to have the process completed.

How does this help? 

By practising ahead of time, the future candidate has a chance to reduce stress, and a positive image of the recruiter is projected; they realise that he or she will not be a monster!

During the interview simulation or practice, it is essential to keep the following points in mind:

  • Body language: a firm handshake, eye contact, show a positive attitude by frequently smiling, have a straight posture when standing or sitting, avoid fidgeting by keeping legs straight with feet glued to the floor. According to recent statistics, 82% of hiring managers think that a person's ability to hold eye contact on the first interview is indispensable; the other 18% must've been sleeping because visual contact cannot be stressed enough!
  • Express Yourself: talk about your qualifications, experiences, and education received, skills, hobbies, languages spoken etc.
  • Ask Questions: Prepare the right questions to ask the recruiter; a few might be all you need to have a lasting impression.
  • Chat Yourself Up: List your strengths and weaknesses, without sounding pompous, and be ready to talk about them.
  • Just Remember to Breathe: take care of breathing and good posture throughout the entire interview to not suffocate on your own stress and try to be a normal person.

The previously mentioned aspects can be practised various times to reduce anxiety and improve confidence before an interview. Also, you should not talk too fast; therefore, to keep calm, practise speech exercises that are widely available on many highly recommended online resources.

It would be wise to do some small breathing exercises that lower your overactive heartbeat and make everyone at ease in the interview.

Also, it is essential to state that the more you listen and pay attention to your inner fears, the less you will know how to answer difficult or pointed questions posed by the recruiter during the interview. 

The voice inside your head is a reflection of your insecurities; not the reality of what is going on! 

In addition, it is important for applicants to remember that recruiters are genuinely concerned about the well-being of their company and do not test candidates out of malice but rather to ensure that they are employing the best person for the job. Therefore, try not to be stressed if the question makes you uncomfortable; instead view this as a test to see how you act under pressure.

Many recruiters claim that the ideal candidate shows a mild attitude, can manage stress and is a qualified problem solver. 

Also, no one is perfect; therefore, it would be a mistake not to mention your weaknesses in an interview since it is a sign of honesty and sincerity. Also, flaws can help support your argument as to why you deserve this job. For example, one might say, "I am completely aware of the fact that I have little experience as a team manager. However, I am an excellent team player, and I have a thorough knowledge of marketing techniques." Absolutely beautiful said; I would hire someone who said that!

We cannot stress body language enough since, for the recruiter, it is a great way to see if the candidate is confident or nervous about his abilities. 

Also, a recruiter may ask, "Tell me about you." In this situation, the candidate needs to work hard to differentiate himself from other competitors by highlighting his experiences, extra-curricular activities, and talent. No one wants to hire another random applicant from the pile. However, it is important to state that "selling themself" might be more difficult for those who are meeker; therefore, practise sessions in advance are highly recommended for all types.

Before concluding this section, it is essential to mention that the following activities are scientifically proven to be great stress relievers and should be done the day and week before an interview:

  • Chew Gum,
  • Pump Iron and Exercise, 
  • Light a Candle or Smell Incense, 
  • Spend Time With Those You Love, 
  • Laugh Your Butt Off, 
  • Play Your Favourite Sport, 
  • Watch Your Favourite Film, 
  • Take a Yoga Class, 
  • Cuddle and Be Cuddled, 
  • Practise Deep Breathing,
  • Listen to a Soothing Album or Playlist on Spotify, 
  • Take a Long Walk, 
  • Play a Board Game. 

From the previously stated listed, you're sure to find an activity that you personally enjoy and that can help you reduce stress drastically. Don't waste any more time being stressed, relax, and you will succeed; you genius you!

How to Dress For a Job Interview

no suit and tie
In certain sectors, the dress code is not too formal. (Source: Unsplash)

It is a commonly known fact that dress, grooming, and overall personal appearance are discriminating factors experienced in the hiring process. Though distinct societies in countries all over the world have made strides to avoid profiling, discriminating, and characterising people for their looks, it still happens during interviews.

If you're tall and blond with model-esque features, finding a job will be a piece of cake! 

Although the qualifications should stand out and be the reason for hiring, many studies show that hiring managers place more importance on how you look, whether you smiled or not, your age, and your race; this is the case for both men and women, no one is exempt from the judgemental profiling. 

While age, weight, and race are some of the hiring discrimination biases, style of dress and clothing choice play an essential part. 

Therefore, to succeed at a job interview shorts, a graphic t-shirt, and trainers should be avoided like the plague!

When getting dressed before an interview, we especially take into consideration our style of dress will differ according to the type of position being sought after; this makes complete sense! For example, would you wear a suit and tie to apply for a job at a bakery or grocery store? Of course, not!

Formal wear such as a skirt or suit and tie should be worn at interviews for jobs in the sectors of business, finance, accounting, and recruiting whereas a clean pair of jeans with an ironed shirt and a blazer may be suitable for jobs as a computer programmer, teacher, or doctor.

The dress code often reflects the environment and sector of a specific company. 

It may sound rather daft to some, but the dress code reflects the human qualities and well-being of the applicant. People prefer to interact with those who have good personal hygiene and take care of their appearance; this is especially true if the employee has to work with potential clients and others.

To know how to dress for an interview at the company in question, it would be a brilliant idea to visit their website or Facebook page to see how employee's dress for work. The following are some aspects to keep in mind when dressing for an interview for both men and women:

  • Avoid Flashy Colours, 
  • Dress Professional Yet Comfortable, 
  • Press Your Shirt, 
  • Have Fresh Breathe, 
  • Style Your Hair Neat and Conservative, 
  • Keep Your Shoes Low-Heeled, 
  • Wear Deodorant and Cologne/Perfume That Isn't Overpowering, 
  • Don't Show Cleavage. 

The last-minute tips are essential and not impossible to follow; therefore, put them into practice and you'll soar to the next level. Also, the main thing to remember is to stay neutral in your choice of colours; you wouldn't want recruiters to be distracted by your clothes and forget about your qualifications!

Ready to Answer: Top Ten Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions

finding the answers
On job interviews, the most basic questions are frequently asked; therefore, you can effectively prepare. (Source: Unsplash)

If it's your first major interview since your graduation from Uni, you may be unsure as to what to expect from the recruiter and the interview process in general. Nevertheless, there is no need to fear since there are various resources available to well-prepare and ace the interview in style.

Also, though every recruiter and company is unique, the majority of questions asked in interviews are pretty much the same and do not greatly differ. Therefore, as sort of a cheat sheet for success, the following are some of the most commonly posed questions that can be expected and prepared ahead of time:

  1. Tell us/me about yourself (classic!),
  2. Why should we hire you for this job position?
  3. What is your greatest strength?
  4. What is your greatest weakness?
  5. Why do you want to leave or have left your current place of employment? (Not necessarily valid for those who recently graduated secondary school)
  6. What are your salary expectations?
  7. Why do you want this job?
  8. How well do you handle stress and pressure?
  9. Describe a difficult work situation, project, or deadline and explain how you overcame it.
  10. What are your goals for the future?

We are guaranteed that you will hear at least four to six of the previously mentioned questions in your impending job interview. Also, the following questions may be uttered by recruiters to keep you on your toes:

  • How well do you work with other people?
  • What makes you better for this company and this position than all the other applicants? (Good question!)
  • How do you handle your successes and your failures?
  • Are you adaptable to changing circumstances?

Check out this article to find out how to effectively answer any or all of the previously stated questions.

How to Well Prepare For a Job Interview

Since recent graduates send so many CVs and cover letters to various companies to find a job, one might forget for what position they applied.

Oh no, what to do? 

Have no fear, Superprof is here! To adequately prepare for the interview, our advice is to re-read the job post, your CV, and your cover letter sent to highlight key points and essential information. By analysing the job position again, the candidate refreshes his memory, and the recruitment interview will take place without any issues.

A significant step to well prepare for an interview is to gather all the necessary information about the company in question. How can this be done? By visiting blog articles, the official Facebook page of the company, LinkedIn profiles of managers and high ranking employees, and, of course, the company's official website.

By finding helpful online resources, candidates can find essential information about the following:

  • Annual sales,
  • Markets and the economic condition of the company,
  • Most important customers,
  • Number of branches or stores in the UK and abroad,
  • The size of the company (are there ten employees or 10,000?),
  • Legal status,
  • The number of shareholders,
  • Volunteering activities and humanitarian efforts.

All of the previously mentioned necessary elements about the company will serve to specify your professional objectives and what essential information to include in the cover letter.

Never underestimate the opportunity of contacting members of staff and connections within the company since they will provide you with first-hand experiences about the entity's events, environment, potential salary, and daily tasks expected to be completed by employees.

Reflection and meditation are essential before an interview. Why? By reflecting on your overall weaknesses and strengths before the interview, candidates think about the information they wish to divulge during the meeting. Recruiters enjoy candidates who spend time emphasising how their qualities will help or harm them in the job position; they are intrigued and want to keep knowing more about you.

When talking about weaknesses remain honest and sincere; beware of your body language since it could transmit something completely different! 

By preparing for a job interview, young graduates or first-time interviewees show that they possess the correct qualifications, right motivation, and unbridled enthusiasm that will set them apart from more experienced ones. Everyone appreciates a young professional who is confident and knows what he wants.

Our Last Few Tips to Survive an Interview and Land a Job

say no to being late
Punctuality is of the utmost importance during an interview. (Source: Unsplash)

The day of the interview has arrived, and you are ready to blow the sock off any recruiter you may encounter. Start by offering all the recruiters a firm handshake accompanied by eye contact and a smile; way to go, you might as well already have the job!

Sweaty hands should be avoided since they show the employer nervousness and lack of confidence. 

Whether you have agreed to a face-to-face interview or an interview via phone or Skype, there is one thing that should be respected above all: punctuality!

Recruiters do not have much time to interview everyone and find the appropriate candidate; therefore, their time should be respected. Arriving late for an interview is a notorious lack of seriousness, motivation, and legitimacy. If you are late, it is not uncommon for recruiters to refuse the meeting with you and moving forward to other candidates.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to plan for a lengthier travel time than usual to arrive early and avoid any delays. 

The interviewer calls you in their office, and the recruitment process begins. How should you present yourself? From the outset, briefly refer to your CV, your qualifications, potential career path, and your diplomas received that are relevant to the job position in question.

Feel free to mention work experiences abroad, volunteering activities, languages spoken, and extracurricular ventures regularly practised; this will enrich the exchange between you and the recruiter.

By occupying the amount of time speaking about your accomplishments, the recruiter has less of an opportunity to ask destabilising questions about weaknesses and personality flaws. 

After an encouraging and successful job interview, do not hesitate to send the recruiter or employer a thank you note or email expressing your gratitude; this can go a long way and perhaps land you the job!

In conclusion, we sincerely hope that today's article has helped provide essential information to succeed during an interview and land the job of your dreams!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.