The tension and stress that comes with attending a job interview is something no job applicant can totally run away from. However, some tips can help you reduce stress and perform exceptionally in a job interview.

For you to be invited for an interview, it is a compliment on its own because dozens of people applied for the same position you put in for. The question remains, how can you impress your interviewer and convince him that you are the best candidate for the job?

The fact that the job you are applying for falls within the scope of your expertise doesn't make the interview process any easier. Especially in a country like Nigeria where there are limited jobs available to a huge workforce, you need to put in effort and time to prepare for a job interview if you want to come out a winner.

Truth be told, getting a job in Nigeria is not easy. You need to prepare a robust CV, write a convincing cover letter, and continuously keep looking for jobs in various companies. On average, it takes at least 4 interviews before a person can land himself that dream job. With all these thoughts, in addition to facing a panel of recruiters to answer questions from them, makes it daunting and stressful for interviewees.

Gone are the days in Nigeria when you automatically get a job after completing your education, the case is different now and you need to compete with a large number of people to get a good job. With the issue of people knowing people to get a job, it is now necessary that you have to be exceptional in handling interviews if you want to stand any chance of getting a high paying job.

After you have submitted your CV and cover letter and being called for an interview, the best time for you to shine and impress your recruiter is during the interview stage.

Without wasting too much of your time, I have done comprehensive research and come up with some essential tips that will make anyone impress in a job interview and eventually winning the position. Following these tips will put an end to your job search sooner than later.

How to Prepare for a Job Interview
A panel of interviewers waiting for the nest candidate | Photo Credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com
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Start preparing for interviews at an early stage

Most students from the university, polytechnic or college fail to understand that preparing for a job interview starts from the later stage of their studies in school. While some people have connections with top individual profiles in government and other public sectors, an average Nigerian needs to fend for himself by creating an opportunity for himself.

Even before you graduate from school and go for your National Youth Service, start learning how to write a winning CV and cover letter. There are tons of resources you can access online that will help you on how to draft a compelling CV and cover letter.

The two major types of job interview in Nigeria

After you have written a compelling resume and cover letter that made the company invite you for an interview, the next huddle to cross is that of the interview. It is way easier to get an invite for a job interview than to prepare for the recruitment process. If you must do well in an interview, you must put in effort and time to prepare and rehearse for the interview. The following are the types of interviews to expect:

  • Meeting with a panel of interviewers: This is the commonest of all the types of interviews. It is a process whereby you come face-to-face with your interviewer to convince him that you are the best for the job. Although it is kind of stressful when compared to others (you may have to travel from one state to another), a panel interview is faster to make a decision and it gives the interviewee time to prepare.
  • Phone or video call: With the recent development in technology, conducting interviews through video calling has now become common for most organizations. Platforms like Zoom, Skype, etc make it easy for a company to interview candidates for a particular position. Unlike the panel interview that requires you to meet your interviewer in a certain location, you can do video calling from the comfort of your home.
Interview Session Via Video Calling
Using Zoom or Skype for an interview | Photo Credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
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Steps to take to reduce stress and anxiety before a job interview

No doubt, there is stress attached to preparing for a job interview, but you can actually reduce the stress and calm your nerves if you know the tricks. No matter the number of interviews you have attended, it doesn't completely erase the anxiety and stress that come with it. To reduce stress before an interview, follow the tips below:

  • Visualize the job interview: Spend some quiet time alone to imagine how the interview would look like. Imagine the whole process and practice some of the gestures and body language to use on the D-day.
  • Analyze your strength and weaknesses: Make a list of your strength and weaknesses and try to be honest with yourself. Don't be shy to admit your weaknesses (after all, everyone has weaknesses), but try to present them in a way that won't make you look awful for the job.
  • Be optimistic: There is always a discouraging inner voice that tends to destabilize you while preparing for a job interview. Try as much as possible to overcome the voice because it doesn't actually represent reality. Remain optimistic all the time and speak positive words to yourself.
  • Learn more about the company: You don't want to go for an interview in a company that you know nothing about. Take your time to get information about the company you want to work for by visiting their websites or social media handle. Recruiters always find it thrilling when a job candidate knows more about the company they are planning to work for. It shows that you are motivated and willing to work for the company.
  • Employ the breathing technique to stay calm: Recruiters don't like it if an interviewee is looking nervous or stammering during an interview. Try taking deep breaths from time to time to keep your nerves calm because only a confident person can pass an interview excellently.

Dress well to impress your interviewer

After you must have written a good CV and a cover letter and have been invited for a job interview, how you appear to the interview is another critical factor to consider. You can actually impress the hiring manager by your dressing and land yourself that dream job.

When it comes to dressing, each profession has a dress code that is suitable for it. For instance, if you are in the business and finance sector, your best choice of outfit should be a suit and tie. For people in the engineering profession, you may just want to appear neat by putting on a shirt and a pair of trousers.

Your interview attire must be clean and well-ironed so that you can appear smart before the interviewers.

Making eye contact and using body language is as important as your dressing. These gestures help to pass a message that you are confident and know what you are talking about.

How to Dress for a Job Interview
Impress your interviewer with your dressing during a job interview | Photo Credit: Taylor Grote on Unsplash

Other tips that will help you during an interview

Aside from dressing well and learning some tips on how to reduce stress before a job interview, below are some other factors to consider when preparing for a job interview:

Punctuality

Punctuality has been the undoing of so many people when it comes to interviews. I have seen smart guys miss out of great opportunities because of lateness to the screening ground. If you want to go for an interview, you should be at the venue at least 30 minutes before the stipulated time. It is not advisable to go for interviews while in a hurry because it could get you disorganized and throw you off balance. Make sure you get there on time, put yourself together, and get ready for the process involved in the interview.

Smell nice to your interview

Don't go to an interview with a sweaty outfit. This is part of the reasons why you don't need to rush to the interview ground because it may cause you to sweat. Also, get deodorant and perfume to use on your body and clothe so that you can smell nice to your interviewer, but go easy on the perfume if you choose to use one as you don't want the interviewer gagging due to on overpowering perfume. A couple of spritzes will do

Expect the unknown questions

No matter how you prepare for an interview, you may never know all the questions the hiring manager would ask. Having this in mind won't throw you off guard during an interview.

Following all these tips in this article would help you perform exceptionally in interviews and improve your chances of ultimately landing your dream job.

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Justin

A seasoned writer with a knack for various niches. As a physics graduate, I enjoy carrying out detailed research on a particular topic before drafting up an eye-catching and engaging article.