The Top 10 Winning Techniques for Successful Interviews
When you're heading in for that interview with a megabank or a big accounting firm, you're going to need to get the very best from yourself. Some of that will be about the things you do in your head, but the way you come across is one of the keys to a successful interview in the finance industry. Can they be confident to hand the billion-pound account over to you? Are you slick enough to speak with top clients, and present facts and figures with a degree of charm and precision all at once? Here are Bernardo Moya’s 10 winning tips and techniques on how to shine at job interviews.
1. Be prepared
Of course, it’s an obvious thing to say – you need to prepare, but let’s start with the basics. What is this company about? What is their focus and what is their focus in terms of ethics? Do they have a mission statement you can chime with? And beyond that, who are the people interviewing you? Have you researched them? Do you have things in common? It’s not just a question of preparing for the business, but it’s also preparing for the people who are going to be in that room with you so that your message can chime with them. Laddish behaviour won’t play well with a “woke” ethos. Try to find out how you fit with your interviewers and find the part of yourself that will resonate with them.
Real benefits can be found in getting your breathing right. Many people breathe from their upper chests – a style of breathing which mimics the shallow breathing associated with stress, thereby making them more stressed. Instead, focus on breathing from the lower abdomen, drawing your breath right the way down to your stomach and allowing it out gently. This technique has genuine benefits for voice control so you don’t sound wavery or nervous and is also great for calming the nerves. Get used to breathing like this, and before you go into an interview, take the time to sit quietly for a moment. Gently exhale. Now bring your attention to the tip of your nose as you draw in three slow breaths deep into your tummy, letting them out in their own time. This technique will help clear your mind so you become more focused.
3. Imagine the interview the way you want it to go
It is very easy to rehearse things going wrong, which is exactly what people are doing when they imagine a disastrous interview. Instead, practise imagining the interview going well. See yourself relaxed and confident, answering questions with calmness and alacrity. Relax while you’re doing this, and incorporate the breathing technique above. You’ll be amazed at how well it sets a positive frame of mind!
4. Hear no fear
In situations where people have high expectations, our destructive inner voice, the one that’s full of doubt, tends to creep in. Does it seem harsh or judgemental? Fast or slow? My advice is to play with it – make it sleepy or silly or high pitched so it’s like Mickey Mouse’s voice or some other harmless cartoon character. Once you find the humour in it, or a means to negate it in this way, the voice won’t have the same effect on your thoughts and everything that’s going through your head. Try it.
5. Tame the butterflies
We all know that feeling of butterflies in the stomach. Recent research has shown that the enteric nervous system in the gut has a strong effect on our emotions, so it’s time to take charge of it. ‘Butterflies’ are often felt like a tumbling or turning sensation in the guts or other parts of the body. Identify how that movement goes, and then reverse it. If it’s a rising sensation, imagine a counter-moving falling sensation, or vice versa. If it’s a turning sensation, turn it the other way. Imagine it as having a colour your associate with calm confidence. Combine this with the counter-spin, and you will negate the butterflies. It’s amazing how effective this can be!
6. Remember why you are the right person for the job
One of the great problems that a lot of people face is the impostor syndrome – that exposed feeling that someone will see right through you and realise you’re not right for the job. Remember, this sensation occurs only due to unfamiliarity with your situation. Every single person in the world must have felt unfamiliar with something at some point in their lives and being inexperienced in a specific area is absolutely normal. The important thing to remember is that the interviewers are not here to see a perfectly performing individual – show them who you can become in the future!
7. Build rapport
Rapport building is a great way to get on the wavelength of your interviewer. Through being alert and responsive to their body language and through aligning the language you use and your speed of talking with theirs, you can help them feel like they’ve known you for a while. But please note – this does not mean mimicking them. It’s all about communicating with them in a style they appreciate, but it’s still vital to stay true to yourself.
8. Be authentic
Of course, it’s easy to put on a face on and pretend you’re someone else, but the interviewer wants to get a sense of who you are. Allow yourself to shine through and connect on a personal level. If you are covering up all the while, then the job you go into will be tough if you aren’t the right fit.
9. Get your handshake right
It is amazing how much a limp, damp, or insincere handshake says about someone. Having a sense of good physical contact, of some tension in the hand and a degree of strength creates the impression that you are clear-thinking, alert and in control, so practise that handshake and get it right.
10. Relax and enjoy
Think about a time when you felt relaxed and in control and take yourself back to that moment before the interview. Bringing that emotion with you into the room will have a powerful effect on your performance. Think back to this and channel your inner calm.