Just the thought of a job interview can leave some job-seekers in the UK at a loss for words.
About two-thirds of job-seekers said their biggest fear before an interview was not knowing the answer to interview questions. Even with preparation, sometimes more than an hour, the job-seekers still worried about their answers, according to a survey by global recruiting firm Hays.
Women seem to take job interviews more seriously than men, at least in terms of preparation time. Sixty-three per cent of women, compared with 50% of men, spent more than an hour researching or practising interview techniques. Overall, 42% of respondents spent up to an hour preparing.
Experts have said that preparation for an interview can go a long way toward eliminating stress. According to the Hays survey of 451 job-seekers in the UK between July and September, half said job interviews were more anxiety-inducing than public speaking or taking a driving test.
“In a competitive and challenging jobs market, employees feel they have to pull out all the stops to secure a new position,” Andy Robling, director at Hays, said in a press release. “With this backdrop, it’s important that people prepare for interviews thoroughly.
“This not only means paying close attention to the job description but to their personal qualities, too,” he said. “Personality traits are often as important as the skills and experience employees can bring to a new role, and (it) is important to show how they are suited to the company culture.”
Thirty per cent of men said their biggest fear before an interview was how they presented themselves; just 18% of women had concerns about appearance, body language and handshake, possibly because they had spent more time preparing themselves.
Appearance matters, Robling said, but it’s not the deciding factor. How you present your skills and experience are vital – your answers are far more important than your colour scheme.
—Neil Amato (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.