It’s the night before a job interview, and stress is high. You know you have all the qualifications, otherwise, you wouldn’t have been scheduled for an interview in the first place, but you still can’t seem to shake your unease. Does this sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone.
According to a survey conducted by JDP, 93% of Americans experience anxiety before a job interview. Feeling nervous is normal and understandable, especially when a potential career is on the line. We know how important first impressions are, and GenSpark wants to help you make the best one possible! That’s why we spoke with our Director of Recruiting Jilliane Lovell to get insight on what you can do to ace an interview. While some of the information is focused on interviewing with GenSpark specifically, the suggestions overall apply to any professional or academic interview you may encounter. With that being said, here are four tips to help you put your best foot forward during an interview.
1. Come Prepared
While this point seems like a no-brainer, being prepared means more than brushing over the skills and experience on your resume. Be ready to give details about the work and skill sets you have listed. “If you list Java as a software language that you’re comfortable working with, then you need to talk about how you have used Java,” says Lovell, “It could be on a class project… We’re not looking for professional experience per se with Aspire, but you have to be able to communicate how you utilize that.”
Examples of effective communication are also good to have on hand.Interviewers may ask about a time you experienced conflict in the workplace or classroom to gauge your ability to mediate and come to a solution. The capability to be a team player is highly valued, as it shows how you’ll contribute to a healthy and productive professional/academic environment.
Another aspect of being prepared includes dressing appropriately. No matter how much experience you have or how dazzling your personality is, it is still important to have acceptable interview attire. Lovell notes that “Individuals that show up dressed inappropriately are automatically rejected. We’re not looking for them to have a suit, but we do want them to present themselves professionally.” A nice button-up or blouse can make all the difference in a first impression!
Be sure to bring questions to ask your interviewer. While you’ll be doing most of the answering, interviewers appreciate when candidates take initiative by researching the company and showcasing their knowledge through questions. We suggest spending around an hour researching the company and the job description. Dive into blogs, press releases, and social media posts, and take note of anything that sticks out to you.
2. Be Honest
This point cannot be emphasized enough. It takes more than a good first impression to land a position, it takes a good, honest first impression. “You need to be truthful in your resume, don’t over-embellish because if it’s found to be untruthful, it’s quickly a turn-off,” says Lovell. You may be concerned that you don’t have enough knowledge of a certain technology or skill to be qualified, but Lovell has a simple method that will highlight your strengths and put a positive spin on weak areas. “Just in general, when people interview, they need to read the job description of the job they’re applying for and highlight what’s listed in the job description that you know how to do well. And then you talk about those things,” Lovell adds, “If you’re asked about technology that you’re not familiar with, you can simply say that I’m still in the process of learning or I’m eager to learn more… You’re acknowledging that hey, I don’t know anything about it, but it sounds cool.” If you’re willing to put in the effort to grow your skills, interviewers will be more inclined to look past any areas where you may be lacking, which brings us to our third tip…
3. Show Eagerness
Interviewers want candidates who aren’t just willing to show up and do their job, but who are excited to. “We’re looking for people that are enthusiastic, people that want to continue to learn, to grow their career,” remarks Lovell, “We’re not looking for someone that just hit apply, apply, apply on Indeed. And then when they get to our interview, they’re just very dry because they’re just trying to get a job for a paycheck.” Contemplate what interests and excites you the most about the position and keep it in the back of your head throughout your interview. By having it in mind, your eagerness will shine through your words and body language.
4. Practice Self-Care
Last on our list, but certainly not least, is self-care. You may ask, what does self-care have to do with a job interview? Well, to bring your best, you have to feel your best. When you take the time to fill yourself with positive energy, it makes it a whole lot easier to send positive energy out into the world. The following are a few ways to show yourself some good ole TLC, but keep in mind there are many things you can do for self-care, so do whatever is most beneficial for you.
- Listen to your favorite song
- Watch a light-hearted movie or TV show the night before
- Eat a filling, nutrient-based meal
Whether you’re interviewing with GenSpark or another company/program, these tips will serve you well. Keep in mind that along with intensive technical training, GenSpark provides interview preparation and soft-skills training, so if you want to begin your career in technology and learn more about how to master interviews, apply today! By coming prepared, being honest, showing eagerness, and practicing self-care, you’ll likely have a stellar interview and be one step closer to sparking your career.
For more career tips from GenSpark, read our blog about 5 Keys to Having a Good Technical Resume.