Preparing for an interview? Well, you are not alone. It is okay to be nervous for such an important event which is going to play an important part in determining the direction of your career. When it comes to job interviews three questions that are at the foremost of peoples’ minds are: what to do before, during and after the interview.  To soothe your frayed nerves and help you prepare well for the interview, we list here a few important tips that can enhance your chances of getting the nod from the interviewer.

Interview is a critical part of the entire hiring process. Getting a call for an interview means that you have already crossed the first hurdle, that of your resume suitably impressing the recruiter to call you for a face to face interaction. It is important now that you put your best foot forward and create an impression in the interview that makes it easier for you to join the organization. Your resume lists out your achievements, experiences and accomplishments; face to face interview corroborates that and lets the recruiter know that you are capable of doing the job as per expectations.  

What to do before an interview

How you prepare for your interview or the approach you take just before the interview is scheduled has to do more with your state of mind rather than your actual knowledge. This is not hard to decipher as the couple of days leading up to the interview is more nerve wracking than the actual interview itself. As a student you would remember how tense the days leading up to the examinations were, but you were quite calm and confident once you entered the examination hall. With this in mind, shift your focus on ways and methods that would help you approach the interview with a calm and confident state of mind. Nerves can be useful if they help you move in the right direction. So take a deep breath, and let’s get the journey started!

  • Pre-write your thank you note so you can drop them off right afterwards.
  • Put your phone on silent before entering the room.
  • Reach the interview location at least 15 min in advance.
  • It is imperative that you find out more about the company, its work culture, business objectives, etc. It will please the interviewer as they will realize that you are truly interested in the company. 
  • It is important that you prepare well for common questions that are invariably asked in all the interviews. Prepare questions beforehand. Know the answers to basic questions like: tell us more about yourself, your strengths/weaknesses, your career objective, achievements, etc. Answer crisply and to the point. Do not unnecessarily meander as it is most likely to turn off the interviewer.  Also come up with a few questions about the company or position you are applying for to demonstrate your keenness for the job.  
  • Ensure that you have all the documents ready before the interview.  
  • Dress well for the occasion. Avoid casual or tacky clothes. 
  • It certainly helps to know more about the people interviewing you. Dig a bit deeper to learn something about their background. 
  • Prepare a list of references that you can immediately hand over if asked for it.

What to do during an interview

Now that you’re well-rested, prepared and at the designated location a little early – there are a few things to keep in mind once you’re actually in the thick of things. Here’s what to do during when you are actually in the midst of some nerve-wracking action. 

  • Answer the question that was asked concisely and coherently. 
  • Firmly say hello or shake the interviewer’s hand. It shows your confidence. 
  • Avoid slang or casual lingo. For instance, say “Yes,” not “Yeah.”
  • Do not start blurting out the answer as soon as the question is asked. Pause for a second to show that you are putting some thoughts into your answer. 
  • Keep taking notes.
  • Never hesitate to ask questions. One can ask questions when they are unable to interpret a question that the interviewer has put forth. It shows your interest and helps you get a good grasp of the tasks that you will be expected to perform. 
  • Maintain appropriate eye contact.
  • Display positive body language like keeping your hands below the table, straight posture, etc.

What to do after an interview

If you plan to start walking around uncertainty or try guessing what you’re supposed to do next, stop right away. If there was an associate or HR generalist who guided you through the office to the interviewer, find them and ask them what to do next. If no one is available, wait at the reception until further instructions and if you want to get in touch with the interviewer again, consider the following steps:

  • Drop an email to your interviewer with a thank you note
  • Follow up after 2 days and not before, if there’s no response
  • If the interviewer gave a specific date, wait until that date has passed and then reach out
  • Treat the interview as a learning experience. Be a critic and assess your interview.
  • Be self-critical and assess your interview. Make a checklist of the things you can improve at.

Conclusion

Remember what you do prior to the interview is all about general preparation and soothing your hyperactive nerves. What you do during the interview is to display your suitability and competency for the job. What to do after an interview is all about following up at a suitable time and interval. Do not over complicate things. Keep it simple and treat the interview as a journey rather than a make or break destination for your career.