With stiff competition for well paying roles and millions of people still unsure of their job status once furlough ends, it can be a stressful time to find a new job. At the same time, virtual on-demand technologies have made it easier than ever to apply and interview and companies are actively looking broadly for new team members with diverse skills and experiences.
For candidates looking to ease these anxieties, there are some simple steps you can take to help mitigate interview stress. With candidates having completed over 21 million HireVue interviews, we know that preparation is key to alleviating nerves and ensuring you are not limiting your performance by formulating answers on the fly.
Here are some actionable interview tips to help you reduce anxieties and land your next job role.
- Research the company, the product, and especially the role
Make sure that you have a firm grasp on what the company does and any products or services that they offer. Being well versed in what they do will help you confidently navigate the tricky ‘what do you know about us?’ question. It also demonstrates your interest in the company and your seriousness about the role, and highlights that, should you be hired, you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
Read the job description carefully to anticipate the type of questions you might be asked about things like team orientation and adaptability. Think about how you might answer those questions and take some notes to help prepare your answers about how you embody those key qualities.
In order to familiarise yourself with the company, you should make sure to thoroughly review the company website, exploring the about us section, as well as any services pages and blog posts. You should also research any competition, and try to understand what makes the company unique. Finally, you should understand any recent company news and read reviews about their product or service.
- Prepare to go virtual
Increasingly, hiring managers are turning to video interviewing to help them to hire candidates quickly and efficiently, and secure the top talent from around the world. With the pandemic continuing to place candidate safety as a top priority, it is highly likely you will undertake a virtual interview in some form during your next job application process. For most, this will be a new experience, which might create some additional nerves.
The most important thing is to pick a time and location that makes you feel comfortable and at ease when undertaking the video interview. Ideally, position yourself in a well lit room or space, without too many large images or distractions in the background. That said, it’s worth remembering that it’s the content of your answer that matters, not the way your flat looks.
Remember; it’s not a screen test and leading companies provide opportunities for practice and the ability to re-record your answer if you’re not satisfied.
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- Use the STAR method
Another helpful interview tip is to practise answering potential questions with an easy-to-remember format that works best for you. Perhaps the most well-known is the STAR framework that can help you organise your thoughts and articulate a well-crafted and detailed response. Be prepared to answer questions about previous work or school challenges by including thoughts on the Situation, Task, Activity, and Result (STAR) of your work on a challenge. The STAR framework is particularly useful for open-ended questions about your experiences (e.g. “How do you work on a team”?).
- Research who you’ll be working for and the team that you’ll be working with
It’s very likely that once you make it past the initial screening stage, you’ll talk directly to your potential colleagues and those who you’ll be reporting into. While this might seem nerve-racking at first, by taking the time to research the team structure, and fully understanding the roles and responsibilities that each interviewer has at the company, you’ll feel infinitely more at ease. This will also offer some great talking points during the interview.
Before undertaking any interview, it’s worth reviewing the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile, familiarising yourself with their work history, academic background and any endorsements or skills they have on show. It’s also important to review any biographies on the company website, and explore any previous blog posts or articles they have written. This will give you a sense of the industry topics that they care most about.
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- Disclose and accommodate
If you have a disability that you feel precludes you from being able to fully engage in an interview, consider contacting your recruiter and requesting an accommodation. The company can then offer reasonable allowances, such as giving you the questions in advance. This is particularly useful for neurologically diverse candidates and can help remove a significant amount of stress from the interview process.
- Don’t panic if you have a hiccup
Mistakes happen, technical or otherwise, and it’s important to do your best to avoid panicking, or feeling like you’ve ruined your chances. The hiring team will understand that sometimes these things cannot be avoided, so pause, try to clear your mind, and then continue with the question at hand. Many companies allow retakes and practice questions.
Ahead of a virtual interview, you can help to reassure yourself, and take away any nerves associated with using video technology, by taking the time to practice with your laptop, tablet or phone – helping to limit the chances of a technical mishap.
- Be yourself
While it sounds simple, one of the most important ways you can feel confident in the interview process is to just be yourself. A video interview is a fantastic way to share your experience with the recruiter and highlight the skills you have to offer.
Take a deep breath, make sure you have some water nearby and, importantly, let your personality shine through. You don’t need to become preoccupied with maintaining eye contact with the camera, or sitting in an unnatural position. Just be authentic and speak, and focus, in the way that makes you most comfortable and shares your interest and experience.
Kevin Parker is CEO at HireVue – a global leader in video interviewing, assessments, chat and recruiting automation technology.
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