3 things to think about whilst you're waiting outside an interview

Here are 3 super useful tips that you should be thinking about before you step into an interview

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So here you are, sitting outside a row of identical meeting rooms. They usually have optimistic names on the door like ‘Barcelona’. But this is not Barcelona, it couldn’t be much further from Barcelona. You’re in the reception of a very ordinary office in February and you’re sat waiting for your first interview.

You will sit in your chair waiting to be summoned, silently worrying about what is to take place. You’re entering into the unknown. Your eyes catch the receptionist, who gives little away, other than a knowing smile as if you could be the 100th or 1000th candidate they have seen going through this tense ritual.

Does it have to be like this? Well, yes, a little bit. It is in all of us to get nervous before an interview. It is that basic human characteristic of fearing rejection. But, there are a few things that you can think about while you sit in the chair that might even help you and, in the worst case, will make the time go a bit quicker - here are the best 3: 

1: It’s your story, no one can tell it better than you

Most interviewers won’t have read your CV in detail. Some might have read it and taken down some points, most will have picked it up hot off the printer about 30 seconds before they walk into the meeting room. Inevitably, this often means a ‘soft opener’-something along the lines of ‘talk me through your CV’ or ‘tell me about your experience to date’. This is a cue for you to start talking. 

Whether you prepare this answer or freewheel it, you should take confidence from the fact that there is no one else in the world better qualified to talk about this than you. It is a chance to show your personality without having to worry you do not know the answers or are getting something wrong. Get this part right and you may find the rest of the interview feels like a good conversation rather than a grilling. 

2: No one is expecting you to know how to really do the job

If you have never had a ‘proper job’ before that will be clear from your CV. Whilst you should at least have an idea of what the job entails and the sorts of responsibilities you may have (this can usually found on the job advert) you may be wasting time going off the deep end in trying to understand every detail inside out. A better tactic is to think about the broad skills the job requires (attention to detail, creativity, organisation, teamwork etc) and think about the things that you have done at times in your life that have shown a bit of this. Remember, this doesn’t even have to be in a work setting, you could draw examples from hanging with your friends, something you did at school or college and even from sports or hobbies you have. 

As someone who is looking for their first job you just need to persuade your interviewer that you have the potential to be great. Not that you already are great, because even if you are, they won’t believe you. 

3: It’s a 2-way street, you’re checking them out as much as they’re checking you out. 

This is possibly the hardest one to remember as it rarely ever feels that way. If you are joining a company you are committing a lot of your time and effort. So you should make as sure as you can that it will be worth it. 

This is not to say you should ask all the questions in your interview. However, 99 times out of 100 you will be asked if you have any questions at some point in the conversation.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK A REAL QUESTION.

If you want to know something that you thought about during the interview this is the ideal time to ask! 

At the end of the process, if you feel that it isn’t the right place for you. Your instinct is usually right, it probably isn’t. Don’t get down about rejections from places that don’t really seem like your vibe. No one likes rejection but really you’re just avoiding something that wasn’t right in the first place 


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