How to ace your job interview

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The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a blow to economies across the world, upending the working lives of millions of people.

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While some were forced out of work, others were simply forced out of the office, but both situations have left many people seeking new employment opportunities.

As such, many are finding themselves faced with having to put their best foot forward in order to impress would-be employers in job interviews.

Al Arabiya English spoke to Dubai-based career coach Zeta Yarwood, who shared some tips on how to ace a job interview and land a new career.

What are the three most important factors to consider when preparing for a job interview?

I normally talk about the three ‘Ps’ of interviewing when someone is getting ready for a job interview, writes Zeta Yarwood:

1. Power: Having confidence and conviction in who you are and what you do, your communication and body language, and knowing you have equal power in that job interview or meeting.

2. Personal brand: Getting really clear on what you're bringing to the table (skills, knowledge, experience, achievements plus personality, values, behavioral competencies) and how what you're bringing matches the needs of the company, department and role

3. Preparation: Company research, employee and leader research, getting familiar with interview questions and practicing answers and communication. Communication also including active listening and making sure you understand the question before answering.

A stock image of a group of people meditating. (File photo)
A stock image of a group of people meditating. (File photo)

How should someone calm their nerves before a job interview?

To manage interview nerves, it's best to always be prepared for a job interview. Many job interview nerves are caused by the fear of messing up, so the best way to reduce those nerves is to always be prepared at any time, any place.

This means knowing your unique value proposition and the value you add like the back of your hand. Then practice answering interview questions in front of the mirror or record yourself so you can see your body language and facial expression and how you're coming across.

This way if you suddenly get an invitation for a job interview, you're already 60 percent prepared and that alleviates much of the pressure and increases confidence.

The rest is more about self-belief: Visualizing the interview going well, seeing yourself communicating your value well.

Practicing meditation and breathing techniques to keep the body in a state of calm is also a good way to prepare.

And ultimately, to remember your power. If you go in assuming the interviewer has all the power and they get to decide your future and not you, you've disempowered yourself and that will leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure.

You get to choose whether they are right for you too.

What is the best way to make a good first impression?

Remember the basics: Professionalism and courtesy. Dress well. Arrive on time. Treat every single person you meet with respect, warmth, and friendliness. Good eye contact. Strong, calm, and confident voice and posture. Take an interest in people. And listen to people before replying.

Linkedin can be a useful tool to research an organization. (File photo: Reuters)
Linkedin can be a useful tool to research an organization. (File photo: Reuters)

How should someone prepare for a job interview?

Do the company research and understand what they are about, what they want to achieve. Research the person you would be reporting to and the other team members.

Go through the job description, or if there is no job description find a general job description on Google and identify people at the company on LinkedIn doing a similar job to you and look at their profiles.

Bring all of this together and then analyze and assess how what you're bringing to the table matches their needs and how your skills, knowledge, and experience can help them achieve their objectives and overcome their challenges.

Should you lie in a job interview?

My philosophy is honesty is the best policy. Lies come out eventually and that will sully your reputation wherever you go. If the employer doesn't appreciate your honesty then they might not be the best employer for you anyway.

What is the best way to explain a gap in your resume?

Be honest. If the gap was a big problem for the employer, they probably wouldn't have invited you to a job interview in the first place.

They just want to know what you did during that time. Did you sit on the sofa all day for four years or did you focus on personal and professional development?

Did you do your best to better yourself and your career? Were you taking care of loved ones or forced to take a career break?

If you can explain what you did and the valuable lessons learned, character and strength build, skills, knowledge, life experience etcetera gained during that time, most employers will be satisfied.

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