7 Mental and Physical Steps for a Successful Job Interview
Since you are probably reading this right before you are going in for an interview I am going to try to keep this as short and sweet as possible so you will have adequate time to spend preparing. With that being said, many times when we try to motivate and encourage others we just throw around a bunch of cliche words and phrases without thinking twice about what they really mean. So, throughout this reading I have placed the definition of many words that we use all the time, but never really take a moment to analyze what they really mean so we can effectively put them into practice.
And that really is what this article is all about. For instance, I am sure we all have heard the phrase “Good luck on your (insert important event)”. Have you ever stopped to think about what the person is really saying? The word luck means “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”. So, when someone tells you “good luck” they are basically telling you that your own actions and abilities may not be adequate, so hopefully you get lucky. There are times when luck may be all you have in a situation, but that is not the mindset you want to have in situations where the numbers may already be against you. Luck should only be depended on if you have nothing else to offer. With this article I am not wishing you any type of luck. My goal is that you have success that is not brought on by chance, but by the results of your own preparation and action. And next time, instead of telling a person “good luck” replace that with “do your best”! It will change their whole mindset and give them a sense of being in control of the situation rather than being controlled by the situation, which is how I feel when someone tells me “good luck”.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
- Benjamin Franklin
the action or process of making ready or being made ready for use or consideration.
Step 1: Discover Your Motivation
the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
the general desire or willingness of someone to do something
a stock or supply of money, materials, staff, and other assets that can be drawn on by a person or organization in order to function effectively.
Whether you are pursuing your dream career or you’re just in a bind and need some type of income to pay your bills, it will only benefit you to first figure out your motivation for applying for the job and then become accepting and at peace with that reason or reasons. Once you figure out your motivation and accept your circumstances you will start to look at it as more than “just a job”. You will see it as a possible resource and opportunity to finance your lifestyle, save money for a particular goal, invest in a business venture or hobby that you are passionate about, or it could be paid training for a skill that you may need for a future career or your own entrepreneurial endeavors. So, instead of thinking “I am just looking for a job” you will be more mindful that “I am going to obtain a resource opportunity for myself”. If you find that you are desperate at the time, you definitely don’t want this to come across in your job interview, so you definitely want to find more motivation for the job position that you are going after.
Some people get discouraged when job hunting and start to feel like they are just renting themselves out to be used to build someone else’s dream, and this can come across in your job interview as being unambitious, but you have to change that psychology and realize that you are also using that job to build your dreams! Even if initially that dream is to keep your lights on and your rent paid! Think of it this way, one day you may be in a position to give someone else that same opportunity.
Not only will finding your motivation prepare you mentally for your job search and interview, but many employers want to know your goals for wanting the job opportunity. Depending on the position, I am sure that they witness many people come and go who were only using the job for the moment because they had no other choice and no other way to pay their bills and were just there until a better opportunity came along. So, unless you are applying for a temporary position, employers want to notice longevity and determination in a job candidate and not just an individual who is only looking for a job as part of a routine. What I mean by that is, most people, including myself, have been working since they were the legal age for employment and have gotten in the routine that when you leave or lose one job, just go and find another one. So you have to snap out of that routine mentality, even though you may still be currently in that routine, because you will not get out of that routine until you get motivated about what you want out of the job opportunity besides just income. The interviewer may also see that sense of purpose from you and see that your goals are bigger than the job opportunity and therefore you are displaying perseverance.
Activity: I encourage you take out a piece of paper, a note taking app on your cell phone, or wherever you keep important notes and list the goals that you want with the income and skills that you will receive from your potential resource opportunity.
Step 2: Study and Master Your Resume
acquire complete knowledge or skill in
a detailed investigation and analysis of a subject or situation.
In these times, most applications are being completed and submitted online and for the most part the employers want you to have a resume ready to upload, so it is important that you always have one, or two… or five! A resume is what you will present to the potential employer for them to determine if you are worth interviewing and possibly the right person for the job. Some people make the mistake of making one generic resume for all types of different job positions that are not related to each other. A generic resume is good if you are applying for the same position at different companies. For instance, you may be applying for a Cashier position at 5 different companies, so a generic resume will be just fine to send in online or in person to these companies. But, if you are applying for a position as a Cashier that is needed at one company, a Customer Service Representative at another, and then maybe a Secretary at another you are going to want to tailor each resume that you send in to compliment the specific job description. This would include tailoring your resume objective, highlighting previous employment related to the position, and also being sure to include skills and education related to the job as well. This may require a bit more time, but it will pay off in the end. Be sure to keep all these different resumes saved for use in the future.
You do not want to get caught off guard with questions about your own resume, so make sure that you know your resume inside and out and can also explain any gaps in employment, education questions, and also skills and achievements that you would like your interviewer to know about.
Step 3: Prepare to be Honest
free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.
There’s a HUGE chance that your interview is not your interviewer’s first rodeo. They have probably seen dozens of job candidates during their career and can therefore read a person pretty easily in this particular arena. You do not want to take a chance of coming off as deceitful or untrustworthy. There are also many times that you could have a great interview, but because the hiring manager finds out that there was some information presented that wasn’t true, you could lose the job opportunity. Sometimes it may seem beneficial to stretch the truth a bit, for example, like instead of saying you were a janitor you may say that you are a Director of Facilities Management. Your interviewer may get the wrong impression and think this was a suit and tie position, only to find when they check your references or job history, that the title was actually very different. So, you want to definitely avoid any confusion and understand that “honest work deserves honest representation”. You also don’t want to come off as a person who is ashamed of the work they have done. Present your previous job experience honestly and contently because it shows that you are a person that knows what they want and takes positive advantage of opportunities no matter how large or small.
So, even though it may be tempting at times to make yourself seem more interesting, trust that you are interesting enough and the person you truly are deserves to be known and recognized. You never know how much you may actually have in common with a person or how much of a genuine connection you may be able to make when you are being your true self.
Lastly, there a many jobs that do background checks and you definitely don’t want to withhold or lie about important information that they will eventually find out. It is wise to be upfront about any criminal history and the circumstances surrounding them. This is for your benefit as well, because you don’t want to waste your time and you want to also have the opportunity to explain things that may need further explanation instead of having them discover it without the full story.
Step 4: Do Your Research
1.the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions
As your potential employer will be looking over your application and/or resume in order to determine if you are right for their company, you should be conducting your own investigation about their company to determine if they are a right fit for you. If they have a website make sure that you visit it and read over the site making sure to pay close attention to the “About” section. Also, google the company and read over reviews from customers and previous employees.
Another great tip is to research the job position that you are applying for and the basic duties of that position. I know you may think that from your experience that you pretty much know what the job you are applying for consist of, but looking into the position will give you much more insight and allow you to speak more intelligently when discussing it with your interviewer. This will show the employer that not only are you serious about the job, but you are determined to carry out the job to the best of your ability and be a benefit to the company. There are also some websites that will allow you to actually get first hand accounts of job positions from current or former employees. A good one, in my opinion, is Indeed. You can simply go to their site and look up the company and the position you are applying for and read the reviews. It will give you Intel into the position that you can use during the next step.
Step 5: Prepare to Interview your Interviewer
an act of asking for information
Since you have already done your research about the company it should be fairly easy to choose 2-3 questions you can ask your interviewer that will display genuine interest in their company and the position you are applying for. This will distinguish you from those who are just looking for any type of gig, but as someone that is looking to be an asset to the company and inquiring as to if the company will also be an asset to you. Some examples of some good questions you could ask are “What are some ways a person can be successful in this role?”, “What are some of the day to day operations in this particular role?”, and “What does the training for this position consist of and what are the expectations at the end of training?”. These are just a few examples, but you can definitely customize your questions based on the different things you learn about the company.
Step 6: Dress to Impress (First impressions)
an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.
I know that we all don’t have expensive wardrobes in our closets, but you can definitely make the best out of what you have. No matter if you are going to interview at a laid back minimum wage job or a salaried position, the care and importance that you put into your attire for the interview, says a lot about the care and importance that you will put into the job. If you don’t have a pair of slacks, or a nice dress to wear, if you can, I would say to definitely make that investment. If you can’t then it still goes a long way when you come to your interview dressed clean, shirt tucked in, smelling nice, and maybe some makeup. I feel that if you are feeling good about yourself the confidence will show through in your interview and that leads into the final tip.
Step 7: Hold Your Head High with Confidence
a feeling of self-assurance arising from one's appreciation of one's own abilities or qualities
Based on the definition of confidence, there is no way to have confidence in luck. Confidence comes from the appreciation in your own abilities or qualities. This comes with knowing your strengths and weaknesses and owning them and embracing them. You must also know what you bring to the table in any situation. For example, you may be someone that tends to procrastinate, but you also know that when the pressure is on and deadlines need to be met you are able to work very well under pressure when others may want to give up. So, by knowing and owning your so-called "weaknesses" you are able to better discover and push forward with your strengths and apply them where others may be weak. This will boost your confidence rather than have you loathing over those things where you may want to improve.
Knowledge also promotes confidence. You feel more confident when you feel you know what you are talking about or what you are doing. That is why it is important to research the company and the job position you are applying for and also study your resume so that you are able to speak about each of these in a very positive, assertive, and self-assured manner.
It is also VERY important to realize YOUR value. You don’t want to go in the interview feeling like you are needing a favor. You need to know what you can bring to the company in order to improve their everyday operations. Do you learn things easily without much supervision? Are you great at organizing? Do you love working with people and are able to create customer retention? Answering questions like these with yourself, will prepare you to be ready to answer questions that your interviewer may ask you about why you would be a great asset to their company in the position you are applying for.
So, in conclusion, I do not wish you "good luck", I want you to do your best! 1) Find your motivation, 2) master your resume, 3) prepare to be honest, 4) do your research on the company and the position you are interviewing for, 5) prepare to interview your interviewer, 6) dress to impress, and 7) hold your head high with confidence! Remember to share this article with family and friends that may have been meeting some obstacles in their job searching process. Also, comment below if you have more tips, pointers, or opinions about the article.