The interview process is daunting for anyone. Regardless of an individual’s professional history or even how many times they have been to an interview, everyone will have some form of anxiety ahead of such a meeting. However, it’s important to note that this is by no means a weakness, in fact nerves can be beneficial as they (hopefully) sharpen your attention.
While this is certainly the case, any candidate should ensure that they do not let their concerns get the better of them and remain professional and authoritative throughout. So how can an individual ensure they exude this authority? Here are a few tips to consider:
1) Make a good entrance.
Don’t shrink into the room, eyes down and shoulders hunched. Walk into the room with confidence and remember to smile, regardless of how nervous you might feel. If the interview involves a panel, ensure you make eye contact with all at the beginning and throughout the meeting.
2) Project your voice and be succinct.
It’s all too easy to waffle or lower your voice to almost a whisper as you become flustered. It’s important to clearly get your point across to the interviewer, so make sure you are projecting your voice and thinking through your responses. Keep your head up, sit up straight and look at the other person when speaking as this will help your projection. Don’t be afraid to pause to allow yourself time to think of a response and to ensure you fully answer the question.
3) Be personable.
An interview isn’t just about learning more about you professionally, it’s a chance for a potential employer to get to know you as an individual as well. Don’t hide your personality behind your CV, just be yourself. This will also help with your confidence – your responses and reactions will flow much more smoothly if you are being you, rather than trying to meet all of the interviewer’s expectations.
4) Don’t panic.
A potential employer will ask difficult questions, but they are not trying to catch you out. Instead, it’s likely that they will be looking to see how you react under pressure. Remember this when you’re asked a ‘curve ball’ question and give yourself time to provide a considered response. Don’t feel pressured into providing an immediate answer.
5) Ask questions throughout.
It can be easy to fall into the trap of simply responding to questions without posing any yourself unless prompted. However, in order to come across as an authoritative professional it’s important to have more of a two-way dialogue. Ask the interviewer relevant questions when the time is right rather than storing them up for the end of the meeting. This will also help you relax during the interview; after all, it is more natural to have a conversation than to simply respond to a barrage of questions.
While every interview will be different, the tips above are a good base for coming across as an authoritative professional during this process. Remember, there are multiple sources of advice available to help you really succeed: from publications such as this, through to specialist recruitment agencies. Make sure you use all of the help at your disposal to secure your dream role.
Words by Mohammed Azam, Managing Director at Capita Education Resourcing.