This is a post not only for Drama & Performance students, but for anyone looking to impress in an audition or interview. The skills are the same whether you’re auditioning for a society pantomime or interviewing for a part-time job whilst at uni. It’s important to be prepared for these kinds of situations, as it is easy to be overcome by nerves or bad preparation and become overwhelmed. As someone who has been through their fair share of both auditions and interviews, here are my most important pieces of advice:
One thing I always find is, as much as these groups and businesses advertise specific job criteria and a person specification, it is important to show your own personality. You are your own person, you are an individual and everyone has something different they can bring to the table. I’m not saying to wear your pyjamas to demonstrate how laid back you are – make sure you maintain a level of professionalism but you don’t need to sacrifice your individuality and there’s no reason you can’t allow your own personality to shine. I’ve been to some interviews where they are definitely more interested in you bringing something new to the working team that becoming a clone of what they already have!
Know your stuff about the organisation:
This is a big one. If you’re going for an interview at a clothing brand, there isn’t much point talking about your interest in their competitors as it could hinder your chances. Do your research into the ethics and values of the brand, especially if the business has a specific marketing angle – maybe it is free from animal cruelty, maybe it targets a specific audiences, maybe they only sell one type of product – this is the kind of thing you need to know. Although, that being said, do not just recite information that you can find on their website; take a genuine interest in elements of the business that you enjoy and get to know those in greater detail.
Audition-wise, get to know the performance company you are auditioning for. What kind of shows have they done before, do they usually cast a certain type of actor? Who is on the creative team producing the performance? If it’s a society or amateur dramatics, get to know the company socially, as you’ll find you feel a lot more comfortable auditioning for a group that you already feel a part of.
Take water with you:
You’d be surprised how many people forget to do this and, trust me, it’s an absolute saviour when you get that inevitable nervous dry mouth right before you enter the audition or interview room. It’s always good to take a spare bottle of water too, help out your fellow interviewees, after all, everyone is feeling as nervous as each other.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before:
This sounds like it goes without saying, and I know sometimes you can’t help tossing and turning when you’re stressed about the impending interview/audition, but if you can get your solid 8 hours sleep, you’ll be so much better off for it. Make sure you set an appropriate alarm too – there is no point getting up at 4am to prepare if your interview is at 3pm, you’ll feel better for more sleep and less time anticipating and worrying.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it:
It’s easy to be gutted when you don’t get the job that you worked so hard to research and prepare for, or the role you had your heart set on. Unfortunately, it’s a part of life to not always get what we want, but the best thing to do is look at each one as a learning curve. Try and get feedback if it is offered, as you can learn what you can do next time to improve!
There are lots of things you can do to prepare for scary situations like auditions and interviews, and everyone has their own methods and rituals that help them feel calm and collected! If you’re struggling to get those nerves under control, check out this list! Good luck!