We all know that going to an interview can be a very daunting task and we are inclined to become anxious before an interview. This need not be the case! There are things we can do to better prepare ourselves for the interview and help calm our nervous jitters. If you prepare accordingly, interviews can actually be an enjoyable opportunity to get to know the family you may start working for.
Nerves can make you forget to do the simple things such as listen, this can result in you being perceived as unfriendly or inattentive. A few ideas for overcoming nerves and having a successful interview include:
- Pausing before rushing into an answer can often help you to process the question and formulate a coherent answer.
- Answer truthfully as this will avoid unnecessary stuttering and jumbled answers.
- Ask for clarification of the question should you feel you do not fully understand the question.
- Take deep and calming breaths to avoid rushing through answers and talking too quickly like a steam train.
- Answer the question being asked, do not waffle on about unnecessary things.
- Anticipate potential questions, and prepare answers accordingly.
- Locate your destination the night before to ensure you know exactly where to go to avoid being late. Late arrivals are a bad first impression! Arrive a few minutes early to allow yourself a few moments to breathe prior to the interview.
- Find out the details of the position you are applying for beforehand so that you are sufficiently prepared for the interview.
- Be aware of your capabilities, skills and experiences. Be prepared to talk about your skills and to sell yourself to the interviewer.
- Be ready to ask intelligent questions, the interview is also for you to become familiar with the position and all the duties and responsibilities the job entails.
- It is very important that you are honest and truthful about your education, your experience and your abilities.
- Ask relevant and thought-provoking questions at the appropriate moments as this will show the interviewer that you are intelligent and genuinely interested in the position. Be friendly, happy, enthusiastic and smile often whilst retaining eye-contact with the interviewer as this will convey the message that you are mature and able to cope with the responsibility. Good manners will go a long way!
- Talk about your best attributes and achievements and let your personality shine! Sit up straight, no slouching in the chair. Keep your hands visible as this is a non-verbal sign of honesty and sincerity.
- Dress code is of the utmost importance! Being a childcare position that you are applying for, high heels and a short skirt are obviously not appropriate, and neither are slouchy jeans and an old T-shirt. You need to dress smartly, yet conservatively. Your appearance should be clean, smart and polished. You should avoid wearing anything that is in any way revealing, and wear just enough make-up so that you look professional but not like you are ready for a night out!
- Don’t chew gum during your interview.
- Trust is an important quality of a childcare worker. Take time to talk about yourself in a way that will build trust.
- Be confident, but not arrogant! The interviewer is looking for someone that they will entrust their child/children to. They are wanting someone that is mature, responsible and able to handle situations in a calm and efficient manner.
- Print and take with you some reference letters to give to the client. Obviously only reference letters that pertain to teaching/au pairing/babysitting/tutoring/childcare. Ask people that you have worked for to write an email and send you a reference letter, print these to keep on hand for when you go to an interview. It must be a professional letter, with the date, the name and number of the person who wrote the letter. If you are unsure of whether you can use a letter, email it to me first and I will give you a yes or a no. Reference letters are a great way of showing the client your experience, that you are organised and that you are taking the interview seriously.
- Finally, do not be disheartened if you do not get the position. Keep your chin up, and try again.
I trust that you are able to understand these tips, and will apply them to any interviews that you that you may go to. Good luck, girls!