How to Pass a Job Interview
Finally landed an interview for that job you’re perfect for? Awesome.
Now that you have their attention, pretty soon you’ll be able to prove how well suited you are for the job itself. But before that, you’ll have to go through the dreaded job interview.
While a lot of people hate going through interviews, it’s part and parcel of any job that’s worth taking.
Whether it’s for an entry-level job or the position of CEO, you can’t escape the job interview.
So, here are several ways to increase the probability of making a good impression and landing the job that you’re vying for:
1. Learn Everything You Can About the Job and the Company’s Interview Process
While scouring the Internet for tips on surviving or passing a job interview, you’re going to read and hear a lot about “confidence”.
There are a bunch of ways to increase your confidence and appear more capable than the other people who’re vying for the same job. But perhaps the most effective way is to simply do your homework.
Research, research, and research.
You can never learn too much about the job that you’re after.
Use your contacts within the company to find out every little thing you can about the position.
What kind of questions can you expect to encounter?
What are the expected responsibilities of the job?
Which tasks aren’t technically in the job description but, in practice, fall under the job’s jurisdiction anyway?
What can you do to go beyond the call of duty?
What are the company’s existing problems, and what can you personally do to mitigate or resolve these problems when they give you the job?
To paraphrase an old but relevant cliche, ask not what the company can do for you, ask what you can do for the company.
If you have minimal to zero contacts within the company, or if your contacts can’t give you the answers you need, do your own research.
Observe rumors about the company.
Observe how the company performs in the actual market that it’s engaged in.
What industry standards, problems, and solutions can be applied to the job that you’re vying for?
Having a straight answer to all of these questions is bound to give you a natural confidence boost when the interview comes.
If you know the answers to these questions by heart, you’re a lot less likely to stumble through the interview, and more likely to provide a good first impression.
2. Make Sure to Arrive Early or At the Very Least, On Time
Do some research on the interview location.
This is because if you live in the city, traffic conditions could make you late for your own job interview.
Based on the time and day the interview is scheduled, how long will it take you to drive/commute to the location?
If you live in an area with rather unpredictable traffic, it would be best to schedule your arrival at least 30 minutes before you actually need to be there.
It’s way better to be early for your job interview than be a little late.
Just bring something to read to calm your nerves in case you arrive too early and need to wait for some time before the interview starts.
Doing this isn’t just respectful of other people’s time, it’s also a concrete example of how prompt you are and how seriously you take the possibility of landing the position.
Also, arriving early or on time, especially in a city that’s besieged by heavy traffic on a daily basis, shows how well you can adapt to non-ideal conditions (a good skill to have in any job).
3. Start the Day 100% Ready
In most cases, you’ll probably be notified about the interview days or even weeks before the actual date.
This is usually more than enough time to prepare everything you need to pass the interview.
Preparation isn’t just about knowing all there is to know about the job itself and how to get there on time.
It’s also about what you’ll be wearing and what you’ll actually need to bring to the interview.
On the night before the interview itself, you should already know what you want to wear.
Whether it’s a pressed, dry-cleaned suit or a semi-formal ensemble that showcases your inherent creativity, it needs to be 100% ready when you wake up on the day of the interview.
Likewise, everything that needs to be printed out (like copies of your resume, your portfolio, or any proposals you might have) should also be 100% ready in the morning as well.
You can either pack them up already or lay them out on a table so you can double check everything before you leave in the morning.
Being 100% ready isn’t just convenient and time-saving, it also puts you in the confident mindset of a accomplishing the day’s mission: giving a good interview.
There’s nothing like the mental boost of simply being prepared.
4. Watch Your Caffeine Intake
Coffee is an effective and efficient way to gain some extra energy for your interview.
With the right levels of caffeine in your system, you can expect a sharp gain in focus as you answer each interview question thrown your way.
Being properly caffeinated allows you to better at thinking on your feet.
At the same time, excessive amounts of coffee can also raise your anxiety, and that’s the last thing any interviewee needs.
So be absolutely careful about how much caffeine you’re drinking.
In most cases, it’s best to limit yourself to just one cup of coffee hours before the interview.
And if you’re especially sensitive to caffeine, it might be better to limit that to just half a cup or even no coffee at all.
Being a little sleepy is way better than being rattled and anxious before the big interview.
Proper amounts of caffeine brings energy, too much can just eat at your confidence.
But if you absolutely need a hot dose of caffeine, tea is the safer alternative.
Certain types of tea like black, oolong, and yerba mate (mah-tay) have a higher caffeine content than others – but still not as much as coffee itself.
If you’re prone to anxiety, tea can provide you with a dose of caffeine that’s easier to manage.
With tea instead of coffee, you can enjoy one or two cups safely before the interview.
5. Exercise on the Morning Before the Interview
The night before the big day, rest well so you can wake up early and possibly still have time to exercise. Physical exercise is a good way to channel adrenaline and gain the calming benefits of endorphins – an all-natural tactic for shaking off those interview nerves.
However, try not to exert yourself too much.
You don’t want to spend all your energy and/or end up with sore muscles right before the interview.
Based on your current level of fitness, work up enough of a sweat to get the blood flowing, but not enough to make you sore and uncomfortable.
Whether it’s just a 30-minute walk around the block or doing a bunch of squats and push-ups, it’s bound to give you a good headstart on the day ahead.