Be confident! Part One – BEFORE the interview


Robbie Williams hums the Rocky theme tune to psych himself up – but in the real work it takes a little more than that!

What can you do to ensure that you don’t become a bundle of nerves and instead exude an air of calm, clear headed confidence in the interview room?

Preparation is  key!

  • Look the company up on the internet. Understand what they do/make,  who their market and competitors are. It will impress your interviewers that you have shown an interest as they will probably open the  conversation with “OK, so what do you know about us?”. Nothing is worse than an interviewee saying “Ummm…nuffin”. It means they haven’t bothered.
  • Obtain a copy of the job description, read through it and note examples of tasks/achievements in previous roles where you have demonstrated the skill required. If you have facts and figures then even better!
  • Write a list of your strengths and weaknesses. You will feel boosted by reading your list of strengths. With your list of weaknesses write down what it is you need to overcome that weakness. Is it training maybe, or practice?
  • Many interviews  tend to be based on a “behavioural interview” type.  This is to assess how a person copes with situations and means that the interviewee has to give specific examples. To prepare for this, get a piece of paper and write examples under the following headings:

Influencing – can you think of a time where you have persuaded someone round to your way of thinking? Where you have convinced others of a good idea?

Communication – practice your answers without waffling or talking too fast and think of examples of written communications you have used. How effective were they?

Change management – demonstrate that you can cope with change. Many companies  are undergoing major restructuring and so require the work force to be flexible and not negative about progress.

Teamwork – where you have worked well in a team? What was your role in that team? With many workplaces being open plan, employers often look for people that will “fit in” and work easily with others.

Planning and organising – how do you prioritise? Most jobs you will have to do numerous tasks at once – can you demonstrate how you have handled this in the past? You may be required to drop everything and refocus your attentions on another task – do you have any examples of this?

Problem solving – think of  an example where you solved a problem effectively. Did you save a sale/customer/a life/the company money?

Working under pressure – as resources get tighter pressure on workers is higher than ever before. How do you cope with stress? Can you think of an example that shows that you are cool under pressure?

  • If you don’t have much work experience then think of examples from other areas of your life.
  • Think of some good questions to ask at the end of the interview.  Intelligent questions such as, “Where does the company see its services/products developing over the next two years?” rather than “How long will I get for lunch???”

So now you are prepared. You know what your strengths are and you have identified your weaknesses (or “areas of development” as I like to call them.  I’ll come to why this is important in Part Two – DURING the interview).

One more top tip:

Think of a time that you felt on top of the world! A time when you achieved something that made you feel so proud and happy that you couldn’t stop beaming from ear to ear. Think about how you felt and, at the same time, squeeze your earlobe and hold for a few seconds. Do this every day in the days running up to the interview. Then, as you are sitting waiting for your name to be called and the butterflies start setting in, gently squeeze your earlobe. All those feelings of confidence and achievement that you have “locked in” will come flooding back and you will sit upright and feel calm and positive. Try it!

Coming soon….Be Confident! Part Two – DURING the interview!


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