We all dread job interviews. They are, after all, intimidating! You’re going to a place you’ve never been before, to meet with someone you don’t know, to try to prove that you’re the right person for the position they’re hiring for.
There are a lot of unknowns involved in a job interview, and what we don’t know often terrifies us. Unfortunately, because we often fear the job interview process, we completely stress ourselves out, instead of looking at the interview as a valuable opportunity.
Just think, while the hiring manager is interviewing you for the position, you’re also interviewing he/she as a potential supervisor and the company as your potential place of employment. You can learn a lot during the interview process that you wouldn’t be able to find out any other way.
So check out these five reasons why job interviews are a necessary evil and change the way you look at interviewing.
#1 - Interviewing allows you to see if you’re the right fit for the job.
How do you really know if you want the job, if you don’t do the interview? Via Giphy
How many jobs have you had where the work ends up being exactly like the description in the online job posting? We’re willing to bet it’s not very many, if any. Unfortunately, as much as you might think you’re right for the job, you really don’t know until you interview. In an interview, you’re face to face with a real human being (crazy, we know) who works in the office and has first-hand experience with the position you’re applying for.
This person, whether it’s the hiring manager or another employee, can answer your questions and give you information that you can’t find online. Just think: maybe the job posting is looking for a “Marketing Manager.” It says the position is focused on email marketing. You go for an interview and it turns out that the manager talks very little about email and instead mostly about advertising. You would have never known that from the posting alone. If you’re not interested (or have little experience) in advertising, this might not be the position for you after all.
Conversely, you could find out this is, indeed, the perfect position for you! You might leave the office wanting the job more than ever...but you only found out, thanks to your interview.
#2 - You can get to know your future manager in an interview and perhaps future coworkers as well.
Would you be OK working side-by-side with this person everyday? Via Tenor
Just as you find out more about the position itself during the interview, you also get to meet your possible manager. You may have already spoken to him/her on the phone, but in the interview, you get the opportunity to meet them face-to-face and really feel them out.
You can learn a lot about a person just by having a simple conversation with them in person. In your interview you can learn about your manager’s personality, work style, and general attitude. You’ll also be able to observe how they interact with other people in the office, and with you, of course. You’ll be able to ask yourself: is this a person that I can see myself working for? Working with?
While the job itself is important, it’s just as important to be able to work with your manager (and hopefully like them too). A face-to-face interview can give you insight in a way a phone call, or even a video interview, can’t.
Moreover, you might also have the opportunity to meet other employees in the office during your interview. Just like with the manager, you can get a feel for the different personalities and see if they are the types of people you want to be seeing, Monday through Friday, 40+ hours per week.
#3 - During the interview, you can observe the company culture and general atmosphere of the office.
Do people look happy to be at work, or does everyone have Jon Snow face? Via Giphy
Company culture is essential. If you’re going to be spending the majority of your time at work, you want it to be a relatively pleasant place. If your interviewer doesn’t take you around the office, ask them for a tour before you leave.
A tour will give you a sense of the office space, the way people work, and the general atmosphere. Does the office have any amenities? Is there a kitchen with appliances? A place to eat? Are there conference rooms or quiet working spaces? Is the office an open work environment or does everyone have their own cubicle? These are all things to consider while walking around during your interview. Every person is different and only you know how you work best. So while you’re interviewing, think about how the office atmosphere would complement your working style.
Additionally, you can also observe the way people are working. Is everyone collaborating, working together, or are they doing their own thing? Do people seem happy, stressed, overwhelmed? If all of the employees are flashing “help me” signals to you as you walk by, you might think twice about accepting any potential offer. Again, the company may have a flashy website with professional pictures of fabulous group outings, but you can only know for sure what the company is like by seeing it for yourself.
#4 - Traveling to the office for an interview gives you a sense of the commute.
The commute time to the office can be a deal breaker when it comes to a new job. Via Giphy
How are you going to get to the office for your interview? Can you drive? Do you need to take public transportation? How long will it take? Heading to an office for an interview gives you an opportunity to test out (and think about) your possible commute.
Commute method and time can be a deal breaker for many people. After all, not many people want to sit in traffic for two hours every weekday to get to work. Before you head in for the interview, research the different commute methods and see which one you think will work best for you. Then, on your way there, observe the length, traffic, and remember to consider what the commute is like for your interview time versus what it might be like during rush hour.
If the commute is horrible, it might be a factor to consider if you’re offered the position. You don’t want to drive yourself crazy before you even get to work.
#5 - And of course, the only way to get better at interviewing is to do it.
Practice might not make perfect, but it sure doesn’t hurt. Via Giphy
It might not be what we like to hear, but it’s true: the only way to get better at interviewing is to do it. If you don’t actually go on interviews, interact with potential employers, and actually talk about yourself and your skills, how will it get any easier? Answer: it won’t.
The only way to cure yourself of interview jitters and insecurities is to go out there and get it done (and if you need more tips to calm your nerves before an interview, we’ve got you )! You can practice all you want in the mirror at home (which is great), but there’s something about actually being in a real-life interview situation that makes all the difference.
The more interviews you go on, the more you’ll get used to the types of questions that are asked and how to answer them. You’ll get a feel for what to wear, how to shake someone’s hand, what questions you want to ask before you leave. If you never actually go on an interview, the fear will build and build until it’s unbearable. Remember, the person interviewing you is only human. They had to go through the same thing to get their job. You have to interview to make interviewing easier, it’s just the way it is.
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Randa Kriss is a NY-based writer who has written about dogs, pop culture, and everything in between. When she’s not typing furiously on a keyboard, she can be found glued to the latest hit Netflix series, talking to her cats and Corgi, or curled up with a book. You can follow Randa on Twitter @alwaysranda .
Original photo in featured image by Chris Knight .