The job market is starting to look a little healthier, certainly in the private sector anyway, and whilst unemployment levels are down and the number of opportunities for every level of applicant is finally starting to increase, the level of competition out there is still extremely fierce.
This point could not have been better illustrated by a recent Radio 4 documentary, which followed the story of a branch of Costa Coffee that opened last year in Mapperley, Derbyshire. The coffee shop hit the headlines after 1700 job hunters applied for just seven jobs.
Based on those odds, you have a 0.4 percent chance of getting the job. So, when you’re down to the final stage of the recruitment process, the last thing you want to do is botch the interview because of a lack of confidence. When first impressions are so important, how can you give yourself the very best chance of interview success?
Fail to prepare; prepare to fail
Okay, we don’t like faux intellectual quotes anymore more than you do, but in this case, there’s plenty of logic behind it. Confidence is directly linked to aptitude (in most cases anyway, some people are habitually overconfident). So, if you’re good at something, you’ll be naturally confident in your ability to perform. No one is naturally good at interviews. This is something we must practice. The first step is to carry out plenty of background research and read through the job description to get a better idea of the questions the interviewer will ask. You should also prepare at least two questions to ask at the end of the interview to demonstrate your interest in the position.
Arrive on time
This is the oldest rule in the book. If you’re late for a job interview due to insufficient planning, you should probably question whether you’re ready for employment at all.
Turning up late or rushing to arrive on time can put a huge dent in your confidence. If you’re late, you’re fighting a losing battle from the off. The interviewer will usually make their displeasure perfectly clear, and when so many other worthy applicants would have killed to be in your position, who can blame them?
Dashing to make the interview can throw you completely off kilter. To feel at your most confident in an interview, arrive early and allow at least half an hour for any unforeseen circumstances. Rather than going straight into the prospective employer’s premises, why not take yourself off to a nearby coffee shop, read through your notes one last time and gather your thoughts over a nice relaxing tea!
Look your best
Much of our confidence and self esteem is intrinsically linked to the way we look. Many people prefer to dress down for interviews these days, but unless otherwise stated on your invitation to interview, it is always best to wear your most formal attire; after all, you can never be too smart for an interview, but you can certainly be underdressed.
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