Job Interview Day: Tips for Candidates

Interview tips for candidates

You recently applied for a promising position that could elevate your career, and your desired future employer invited you for an interview. You completed all the necessary work to stand out during the screening. You researched the company online, found common interview questions for the role, and thought about possible responses.

However, even though you practiced hard for this interview, you feel stressed and uncertain. And the truth is you are not alone. According to a 2020 survey, 93% of respondents reported experiencing anxiety symptoms related to a job interview.

Below, we’ve gathered some useful interview preparation tips for the interview day to help you reduce your anxiety and regain your balance. We have divided those practices into short categories, starting with general tips that apply to every occasion and narrowing them down to specific practices you can implement based on each interview type.

General tips for all interview types

a) Scan through the job description

A few hours before the interview, read the job description again to refresh your memory about the job responsibilities. This way, you’ll be ready to respond to duty-related questions and clarify any concerns you may have about the daily tasks.

b) Prepare your questions

The interview is the best opportunity to ask all the questions you may have, not only regarding job duties but also about the company culture or team structure, among others. You could note down those questions to ensure you have all the information you need by the end of the interview.

c) Rehearse your elevator pitch

One very common request during the first interview stages is to “Describe yourself”. Here comes the elevator pitch, which is a brief summary of yourself that should last no longer than 30-60 seconds. You can start with broad information about you, such as your education and professional background. Then, conclude with your career goals.

d) Remember why you want this role

Before the job interview, it’s critical to remind yourself why you want this job and why you have chosen this specific company as your next employer. Make these goals as transparent as possible in your head, and present them in a convincing and meaningful way to the interviewer.

e) Stay relaxed and eat well

Try to take a good night’s sleep before the interview. If you feel agitated and stressed, you can exercise or do another hobby that makes you calm. You can also practice meditation and positive self-talk to release your stress. For instance, write down your top strengths and consider how you could demonstrate them during the interview. Finally, treat yourself to a rich breakfast and stay hydrated to avoid fatigue.

f) Dress smart

Every business has its own dress code. Find out how people are dressed in the company you are interviewing for and dress up accordingly. You can yield that information from the company’s careers page or social media profiles. For example, if the company has a more relaxed dress code, you could go with a more “smart-casual” look. But most importantly, pick an outfit that makes you feel confident and comfortable.

Phone interview tips

a) Check your phone battery

Remember to charge your phone before the interview to avoid getting disconnected during the process. As the interview time approaches, keep your phone in close proximity and unmute it to ensure you won’t miss the call. Additionally, it is essential to ascertain you have good phone reception.

b) Limit distractions

In order to keep your attention and focus solely on the interviewer, conduct the interview in a quiet place to prevent noise or disruptions. This will help you concentrate better and achieve the maximum results possible.

c) Keep a warm but professional tone

To capture your interviewer’s attention, Interact with them in a firm tone, and remember that it’s important to build rapport in the process. Listen carefully, avoid interrupting the interviewer, and be polite. Show genuine interest in the role by asking questions. This provides an impression that you are eager to learn more and you put a lot of thought into considering the position.

Video interview tips

a) Familiarize with the platform/software

When conducting a video interview, make yourself comfortable with the platform you’ll use to communicate with the interviewer. If it’s new to you, take a quick tour to understand its use and capacities. In most cases, the interviewer will provide you with guidelines to connect, so make sure to read them carefully.

b) Reduce distractions

It’s also important to limit distractions as much as you can during the video interview, in a similar way to phone interviews. Check your internet connection to avoid potential “hiccups”. Plus, it’s wise to stand in front of a minimal background, with simple patterns and colors – the same applies to your clothes. This way you make it easier for the interviewer to focus their full attention on you.

On-site interview tips

a) Arrive on time

As you may know, first impressions always matter. That’s why it’s important to be at the interview location on time to show that you’re accountable and diligent. Check the location and estimate how much time you’ll need to get there. Ten minutes before the interview is good timing. You will have enough time to get comfortable with the environment and take a few deep breaths before the interview starts.

b) Be mindful of body language

Our bodies often reveal how confident and assertive we feel. Start with a firm handshake and sit upright facing your interviewer. Keep eye contact and listen to them carefully. If a question is hard or confusing and you need time to think, do not hesitate to ask it. Keep in mind that interviewers may also feel stressed at times, as they represent the employer and want to delight you, too.

c) Print out your resume/cover letter

The interviewer may ask questions based on your resume or cover letter. Get copies with you so that you can have a look at any details needed to give accurate answers.

We strongly recommend following these simple practices before your next interview, and you will definitely reap the benefits. However, if you still feel intimidated and stressed before or during job interviews, reach out to a career coach or strategist to discuss your concerns in-depth. They will help you figure out what blocks you and regain your confidence.