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You've successfully navigated the job hunting process and have secured an interview. What's next? To help you reduce the job interview jitters and boost your chances of getting the job, Galt Foundation offers these five helpful interview tips.
You've successfully navigated the job hunting process and have secured an interview. What's next? Job interviews, which typically last for 45 minutes to 1 hour, are a chance for you to get to know the employer, the company, and the details of the role you’re applying for. It's also an opportunity for the employer to see if you’re a good fit for the role.
However, for many people, job interviews can be a nerve-wracking experience. In fact, 93% of Americans surveyed have experienced anxiety related to job interviews. Preparing for an interview can help decrease interview-related stress and improve your chances of securing the job. Here are our interview tips for job seekers.
1. Know the Ins and Outs of Where You’ll be Interviewed
Job interviews are all about first impressions – and it only takes seven seconds to make one. If you’re late or frazzled before the interview even starts, it may negatively impact how you’re perceived by the interviewer. For in-person interviews, traffic jams, unexpected construction, and congested parking lots can impact your commute and increase your stress levels.
Before your interview, look up where the interview will be taking place and get familiar with the location by planning your route (and back-up route), your transportation method, and your target parking spot, if needed. This will allow you to focus on what’s important: the job interview itself.
If you have a disability and require accessibility measures, it’s especially important to prepare beforehand. Information about wheelchair ramps, braille signage, hearing loops, and more can be found on the organization or building management’s website, or can be requested from your interviewer. If you require accommodations, ensure you ask for them in advance.
Interviews done over the phone or video platform come with their own sources of potential mishaps, such as Wi-Fi connectivity issues, loud noises, and dropped calls. Make sure you check – and double check – these things well before your interview and make any preparations if necessary. For people with disabilities, also ensure you have any technology ready and/or have accommodations prepared in advance with the interviewer.
2. Get Comfortable Talking About Your Job Experience
It’s important to remember the main purpose of a job interview. Employers want to know how your skills and experience translate to the job they’re hiring for, and that you’ll be the best fit for the role.
Reread the job description beforehand and be ready to sell yourself. Does the job say “ability to work well with others?” Think about your job history, as well as specific instances or situations you can talk about that show you have that skill.
Don’t think you have job experience for a specific skill listed on the job description? Source something from your everyday life. Perhaps you led a group in school or organized an event for your community that shows you do in fact have that skill – just not in a job capacity yet. Soft skills, like time management and problem solving, are more flexible than hard skills, like computer competency and writing skills.
If you have any gaps in your resume, it’s a good idea to have an explanation ready with what you feel comfortable telling the interviewer. This is especially relevant if you have a disability and were off on a related leave at some point in your professional career.
The decision to disclose your disability is entirely up to you. However, disclosing your disability may help dispel any misconceptions and provide context for employment gaps (we talk about how to do it in point four). Whatever you decide, make sure to keep the focus on your ability and availability for the job. You can also bring a letter of recommendation from a past employer to boost your credibility.
3. Be Prepared to Answer Interview Questions
Not knowing what questions will be asked and how to best answer them can be intimidating for even the most seasoned job seekers. Luckily, interviews are pretty formulaic; interviewers typically ask about job history and experience, scenarios related to the job, and, sometimes, fun, off-the-cuff questions to get a feel for personality and culture fit.
First, it’s good practice to read about the company beforehand. Why? Forty-seven percent of interviewers said that they wouldn’t offer the job to a candidate if they had little to no knowledge of the company.
Then, anticipate the interview questions based on the job description and the company information. You can also find sample interview questions online. This can help you increase your confidence and decrease your stress levels by preparing you for common questions. Just make sure you don’t sound too rehearsed.
Of course, you can’t anticipate every single question, so be prepared to be flexible. You can always take a beat before you answer. Remember: the interviewer is already interested in you from your resume, so just try to answer questions to the best of your ability.
For people with learning disabilities or those living with a mental health condition, preparing before an interview can be especially useful to overcome any behavioral symptoms and decrease anxiety.
If you have ADHD, for example, it may be difficult to focus and listen, so self-management strategies such as subtle breathing techniques, being intentional about the way you sit, move, and speak, and maintaining eye contact can help you succeed.
For those with autism spectrum disorders, Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides helpful tips on how to navigate the interview process. Additionally, this blog post can help those with anxiety ace a job interview.
4. Choose If You’ll Disclose Your Disability During the Interview
The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination. However, for people with disabilities, it can be difficult to know if, when, or how to disclose your disability to an employer during the job interview. Choosing to disclose your disability is a highly individual decision, but there are best practices you can follow should you choose to do so.
Galt Foundation offers tips for disclosing your disability, not just during the interview, but throughout the employment process.
5. Exude Confidence During Your Interview
Confidence during a job interview is key. The above tips will inherently help boost your confidence by making you better prepared for your job interview, but it's still not that unusual for candidates to have to “fake it until you make it,” confidence-wise.
One way to show you’re confident and passionate about the role is to prepare your own questions. Usually, at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have anything you want to ask. By having a question or two ready, you show engagement and enthusiasm.
For example, you could ask about the company’s values, day-to-day responsibilities, or opportunities for development. Glassdoor provides some great suggestions.
Body language is another way to show confidence. Good posture, eye contact, nodding, and smiling are great to remember, but when you’re nervous, it’s easier to slouch, fidget, or look at the ground. If you have a physical disability, utilize body language to the best of your ability. If you have an autism spectrum disorder, you may want to consider practicing with a family member or friend to ensure that you're making a confident first impression.
Remember: there’s a fine line between confident and cocky. Interviewers will be put off if you come across as rude or over-confident, so remember to be a team-player, listen, and thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.
Let Galt Foundation Help
Not sure where to start in your employment journey? We’re here to help. Galt Foundation is one of the world’s largest temporary staffing organizations for individuals with disabilities. With over 20 years of experience, we’ll support you through the employment process and match you with the right job opportunity.
If you haven’t yet secured an interview, check out our latest job opportunities.
Feel free to get in touch with our expert team. You can contact us or call us at 1-877-361-1277 – we’re always happy to help!