Let’s face it, there are few things as nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing like a job interview. You’ve passed the initial email and phone screening, and now it’s time to meet an actual person, one who might hold your career aspirations in the palm of their hand. You’re also living with a disability, and the daily challenges you face might mean you’re feeling even less confident.
Keep in mind that one of the toughest parts of looking for a new job is actually landing the interview. That your CV was shortlisted from a stack of hundreds speaks volume – your prospective employer was obviously impressed and wants to learn more about you, so let that inspire confidence in you.
Below are a few tips that’ll help you prepare for that all-important interview:
- Present well. There’s truth in the old adage that first impressions are lasting impressions. Choose your outfit carefully, and keep it clean and professional. Spend time getting ready prior to the interview, and enlist the help of a friend, family member, or support worker if you need it. It might seem superficial, but making the effort to dress up and look groomed for your interview shows that you’re taking it seriously.
- Do your research. “So, tell us what you know about our organisation.” This question, or one akin to it, is all but guaranteed. Spend some time thoroughly studying your prospective employer: investigate how they started, what they do, and their target demographics. A quick Google search often tells you all you need to know, but it’s also a good idea to look them up on LinkedIn, Glassdoor and SEEK to get a feel for what sort of employer they might be.
- Don’t be caught off-guard. Prepare answers to the plethora of traditional interview questions you’re going to be asked. “Why don’t you tell us about yourself?”, “What does success mean to you?” and “What are your salary expectations?” are a few notable examples. Then, prepare questions that you’d like to ask them in turn, such as “Could you describe a typical working day here?” and “What are the prospects for growth and development here?”
- Get some rest before the interview. As mentioned, a job interview can induce nerves and anxiety, which can inhibit your sleep. But a decent night’s rest will ensure you’re fresh and switched-on for your meeting with your potential employer. Avoid distractions like your smartphone when you’re getting ready to sleep and practice meditation and mindfulness to relax. Oh, and have breakfast!
- Sell yourself. Be enthusiastic. Show the interviewer what you can bring to the table, not what you expect the job to give to you. Back up any claims you make with facts. If you tell your interviewer that you’re great at, say, social media, then substantiate that statement with stats. Say you grew your previous organisation’s Instagram account by 25% by way of a carefully-conceived social strategy, or whatever it is you did.
- Thank your interviewer! Send them a letter. Write them an email. Give them a call. Just let them know that you’re grateful to have had the opportunity for an interview and reaffirm why you’re the best person for the job.
Remember, you may not land the first or second job you go for, but it’s important not to be discouraged. Don’t think of it as a rejection, but rather a redirection for something even better.