Wouldn’t it be great if going through an interview would be the easy part? Unfortunately, it’s the most difficult part of getting the job and unless you are naturally good at interviewing, it can take quite a bit of preparation to make sure you do well and secure that role. Below are a few ways to make sure you give yourself the best possible chance to be successful.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare – two or three days before your interview be sure to visit your prospective employer’s website and learn as much as possible about the company. Familiarise yourself with competency based questions and have an answer ready for each one. We will cover these types of questions in a future article.
- Look smart – preferably business attire, it lets the interviewer know that you can make the effort and everyone wants to feel you make the effort for them. Aside from looking smart, make sure you smell good but not overpowering. If you are a smoker, it is highly recommended not to smoke right before your interview. Look and smell as fresh as possible.
- Be early – give yourself enough time to find the location, the person you need to speak to and to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and possibly calm your nerves. Be sure to put your phone on silent and well out of sight, few moments are more embarrassing than your phone ringing in an interview.
- Firm handshake and good eye contact – When you meet your interviewer, it is important to stand straight, chin up, smile and make a firm (but not crushing) handshake and establish good eye contact right from the start. Be sure to repeat the name of the person/people who you’ve just met back to them, ie, “Hi Alex, nice to meet you.” “Thank you for seeing me today.” All the above show commitment and presence and are sure to win you favours from the very beginning. During your interview, be careful not to let your posture drop or your eyes wonder around the room too much. Be careful not to stare either, try to imagine that the interviewer is a good friend of yours, it should hopefully make it easier.
- Keep your focus – you should have already prepared your competency based answers and hopefully have practised them a couple of times. Keep your answers fairly short and focused, don’t waffle on and bore the interviewer, they only have a limited time. Remain engaged in the conversation at all times.
- Don’t criticise – never speak badly about previous employers or colleagues, it will make everyone feel uncomfortable. If you are harbouring resentment it is up to you to resolve it without letting it affect your future opportunities.
- Have at least 3 questions ready to ask – save them to the end of the interview and they can be about things like what would you be doing day to day, what are the career progression options, what is the structure of the company or what the next stage of the recruitment process is. Never ask about salary in your first interview. If you don’t already know what the salary is, save it to later on in the recruitment process.
Keeping all the above in mind and making sure you are very well prepared, you should have the best possible chance at being successful.