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Going to a job interview is nerve-racking for just about everybody. One survey by Small Business Trends found that 93% of those questioned admit to feeling anxiety before an interview. Many things can go wrong, but you can avoid things during an interview that might boost your chances over the competition and help you come in and out stronger.
Talking About Unrelated Roles
When attending an interview, you will be asked lots of questions and allowed to speak on occasion. For example, you might ask about your work experience or how you feel about a specific role. Always answer questions directly and try not to speak about unrelated roles unless there are transferable skills. For example, suppose you want a career change from an IT office to a hospital. In that case, there’s no point rambling to a nurse recruitment officer about how you can save money with software volume licensing. It’s completely unrelated and unnecessary.
Concerning previous roles, it is strongly advised that you refrain from talking negatively about a past employer. This applies to a company as a whole and your superiors. You will almost certainly be asked about your previous employer and your role. If you had a bad experience, explain that things didn’t work out, and it would be best for all if you moved on. Try to be gracious and point out what you learned from your experience and how you might apply that knowledge to your new role at a new company.
Not Asking Questions
The interview process is more than a chance for recruiters to meet you and ask questions. It is also the opportunity to gauge whether a company is right for you. An employer has specific responsibilities to you just as much as you to them. Typically mid-way or at the end of an interview, you are granted your chance to ask questions. It can be challenging to think of any, but some could include:
What are the advancement opportunities?
Why is your company a better choice for me?
What are the differences between this company and others?
How friendly are co-workers?
Why do you think I will make a good fit here?
There’s no reason you cannot make a list of questions at home and take them with you. Employers will be impressed with this. It shows an extra level of preparedness and commitment to a role and will help you better engage with the interviewers.
One of the worst things you can do during an interview is staying silent. An interview is a two-way conversation, and dead air will increase tension and make you appear incompetent. If you are asked a question you feel you cannot answer, simply state that you have experience with that specific issue. Or politely request that the interview move forward. Skipping a question isn’t always advised, but at least it shows you are willing to admit your lack of knowledge and move on. You won’t be expected to know everything about a specific job.
Try to come to your interview with as much preparation as possible. This means researching the company as a whole and your intended role. For example, you might think it’s easy to move to a related position or a promotion in the same department. Yet, your memory can let you down, and there will be unexpected questions. It is also helpful to research competitors. You can give your opinion on why this company is a better choice for you and what you can bring to the table. Also, look for information on the hiring manager using social media as you may have some shared interests.