No matter how far up the career ladder a person has made it, facing a job interview often makes one’s palms sweat and knees knock. No matter the experience you have gained in your field or the expertise you bring to the table, the nervousness and shaken confidence are *real*.
The Japanese proverb, “A focused mind can pierce through stone”, states that it’s all about building a mindset to concur your fears and unleash the calm and powerful inner ninja in you.
There are several ways to make yourself more comfortable and less stressful during a job interview. The key to effective interviewing is to reflect confidence, remain calm and positive, and be able to share adequate examples of your skills and qualifications to deem suitable for the job.
The following are some tips to nail an interview like a pro:
1. Train hard and prepare for combat
Search and review typical job interview questions employers ask; prepare and practice your answers to them. Make sure your answers are specific and concise. Your responses should be relevant to the position and also signify the skills that are most important to the employer.
Check the job description, make a list of requirements, and try to match them to your experience.
Remember that even the most well-prepared response can fall short if it doesn’t answer the exact question that you are being asked. It is important to listen carefully to your Interviewer and to understand what exactly is being asked and respond accordingly.
2. Know everything about your target
Research the employer and the industry so that you are ready for questions such as, ‘What do you know about the company?’, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ and so on. In your response, you can speak to the company’s reputation and what makes it stand out among its competition.
Make yourself aware of the company’s history, mission, vision and values, staff, culture, and recent success stories – all of which you may conveniently find on their website. Check the company’s social media pages and read their blogs, if any.
Identify things that they do well and search for opportunities for improvement. This information can be helpful when you are aiming to outline how you can immediately benefit their team.
Besides learning about the company, build a connection with interviewer. Learn their name(s) and use it during conversation. This could help you build a stronger connection with them. If unsure of how to pronounce their name, don’t feel shy to clarify it during your exchange of introductions and pleasantries.
3. Have your ninja uniform (Shozoku) ready
It is important to prepare for an interview at least a day ahead of it – this includes picking out an outfit. Always keep an interview outfit laundered and ready, so that you are prepared even if called on short notice. Make sure your interview attire is neat, tidy, and appropriate for the type of corporation you are interviewing with.
Make sure to print extra copies of your resume. Keep a notepad and pen ready in case they are required during the interview.
Plan out as much as you can the night before the game day – what shoes you will wear, how you will style your hair, your mode of transportation and what time you plan on leaving for the interview location. It will save you the hassle of having to decide the day of.
4. A ninja is never late (they are early, waiting in the shadows!)
Be at least fifteen minutes early to the interview. Find out the shortest route, take into account the traffic patterns, and adjust your timing accordingly. Give yourself a few extra minutes to visit the restroom and check your outfit (hair and teeth!).
5. Silence your mind and slow your heartbeat down
One of the hardest and most important parts of any job interview is to stay calm through it. Remember that your body language speaks a lot about you and your current state of mind.
While answering questions, remember to maintain the eye contact with the interviewer. Make sure to pay attention to the question and listen to the entire question before you answer it.
Starting your answers with “ums” or “uhs” is seldom impressive; instead, take a moment to internalize the question and process the highlights of your answer before you speak.
“To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders” – Lao Tzu
6. Mark of the ninja
Always send a hand-written note or a follow-up email, within 24 hours, thanking your interviewer and reiterating your interest in the position. In your note, make sure to appreciate their efforts and the opportunity.
All these tips can be helpful to be better prepared for a job interview. Interviewers can tell whether or not a candidate has come prepared and they will appreciate it if you did.