There are very few situations more daunting than a job interview. Among these I would include meeting the in-laws for the first time and cage-wrestling a polar bear. Both of which are very similar to an interview in that you need to be prepared for any eventuality. Here are our top interview tips to make sure when you’re wrestling that metaphorical polar bear, you know more than “wax on, wax off”:

Interview tip #1: Bring notes

Interview tip notes

But not too many

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen in an interview is being asked a really simple question then freezing up. The answer is on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t find the words.

Always bring you resume. Even if you’ve already given them a copy, bring another for yourself. It shows you’re prepared and will act as a cue when you get stuck on a certain question.

If you’re going for a journalism, artistic or design job, bring your portfolio. Hand it around. Discuss pieces you’re particularly proud of. It’s tactile, hands-on and is physical proof that you’re good at what you say you’re good at.

But in saying all this, make sure you’re organised with your materials. Don’t litter the interview table with your papers. Put them in a folder, bound book or some other form that looks clean and well-thought out.

Interview tip #2: Humour, only if it’s funny

Jokes are sometimes a great way to break the ice and other times a great way to napalm any chances of employment.

If you, like Hannah (above), tend to get over-familiar with people you’ve just met or have a thin mouth-to-brain filter, be extra careful in interviews. Be aware of where you are and who you’re talking to.

Your interviewer isn’t your friend. In the end, they’re here to assess your suitability to the role. Be friendly, for sure, but not chummy. No sex jokes, race jokes or jokes that have your interviewer as its punchline.

Self-deprecation is usually a safe option. It shows you don’t take yourself too seriously and are able to have a laugh. But be wary: overuse may lead the interviewer to think you actually just have low-self esteem.

Interview tip #3: Body language and voice

Interview tip Lance Armstrong

It’s often said, “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. The way you sit, use hand gestures and project your voice is just as important as what you’re actually saying. Just look at the mountain of articles around Lance Armstrong’s body language during his Oprah interview. People pay attention to these things and you should too.

Sit upright. Slouching makes you look sloppy and uninterested, whereas leaning too far forward is intimidating. Find the happy medium and we’ll be all good.

Look open. Don’t cross your arms or fiddle with your fingers. Make direct and earnest eye contact. Nod and be an active listener.

In terms of how you speak, take your time. There’s no need to rush. It’s ok to think about the question to formulate a more considered response. In interviews, clarity is king. Speak clearly and deliberately. Use volume and pauses to stress important points and use your hands to add a visual element to what you’re saying.

Other than that, don’t forget to smile. Sounds silly but a grin will get you a long way.

Chin up and good luck!

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