If you ask me what I believe success is, it would be seeing the one’s I love happy and healthy. It would also be doing something I love and am passionate about, having my own house of cats and a nice succulent collection. Interviews are great experience and prepare you in becoming more fluid in answering questions, learning to talk to all kinds of people and showing your energy and experience. It also gives you an insight into where you see yourself in the long run and what area of an industry you’re interested in.
This semester I have a Drama class, and it made me realise how an interview is like a performance. Not in the sense that you’re acting, but in the sense of using the techniques of good eye contact, being authentic and expressing yourself. Many of us have had (or will have) amazing and not-so-amazing interview experiences. They all serve as great lessons and they also remind us that sometimes it’s not the right fit. Everything happens for a reason and it can also make us feel motivated to continuously self improve and persist.
Be yourself and have a good attitude. In an interview it’s best to be true to you. Be calm, professional and aware of your surroundings. Attitude is everything. Everyone would much rather work with someone with a positive attitude and a good outlook on life. People can feel if you’re staying true to yourself, or just saying words that others want to hear.
Research the company, always. When I was in my early teens, I had an interview for a retail position for a luxury jewelry brand. I only read the company info through once and didn’t expect that the questions asked would go in depth. It caused some awkward moments and from then on I always made sure to do more thorough research and take notes.
Explain your experiences clearly and unapologetically. This is your time to shine and tell them your skills, passions, what you’ve achieved and accomplished. Go for it and pitch yourself. Be confident in what you’re saying. When asked the question “Tell me about yourself”, don’t be afraid to add in a balance of your accomplishments and some life experiences.
It’s not all about the CV. A job title only says so much about a person. However, as much as your CV may show your job experiences, employers also want to see your personality, attitude towards life, the way you interact, your passion, your motivations, how you see things, your values and so on. Every company has a different work culture.
Appreciate honesty of interviewers. I get told by interviewers”You’re quite shy” or interviewers might say “We interview so many people, that we can tell who’s suitable and not suitable straight away” and my favourite one “CV is not everything”. The shy comment is tricky, because I’m definitely soft spoken, but I don’t feel I’m too shy, and at the same time when I’m being myself, my calm manner is a part of my personality.
Preparation is key. It’s normal to feel nervous, but having good preparation means that you feel confident and relaxed. Preparation also means that you care for the job and that you genuinely want to get it. The interviewer will feel that and know straight away if you truly want a position through how you express yourself, the way you answer questions and how much you know.
Rejection can make you stronger and more persistent. We would never reach our goals if we don’t experience failure of some kind. Similar to job applications, you might apply 20 jobs, but only 5 reply for an interview, and the rest is either ignored or declined. It’s important to be persistent and stay motivated.
Apply jobs you can see yourself doing. From anything to hospitality, retail to marketing, it’s realistic and better to apply for jobs you can picture yourself doing. Whether it’s waitressing or writing up excel spreadsheets for clients, it’s best to direct your path towards somewhere you can imagine really happening and feeling enjoyment from it.