A job interview is always a daunting experience. The pressure to perform, show your personality, be bright and engaging, convey your skill set, all whilst being calm and collected is no easy feat.
However, with preparation, poise and a pleasant smile you’ll find the interview will go much smoother than once imagined.
Remember, you have already passed the first hurdle: the interviewer liked your CV. Now is your time to impress face to face. Here are a few helpful tips and tricks that will leave a lasting impression on your interviewer and, hopefully, secure the job in question:
- Preparation – First and foremost, to succeed in an interview, preparation is key. To be uncertain of the company, the job specification or what to expect in general, will put you at a disadvantageous position. Therefore, initially, make sure you research the role you have applied for. Why do you want to get this job? What is it that makes you excited about the role? You must show the employer that you have a passion for the position and are interested in pursuing a career in the given sector.
- Research – Secondly, research the company you are meeting. What are they like as a company: creative or corporate? Big or small? Buzzy or quiet? These are things that are important to gage prior to the interview, firstly, to work out whether you are right for the company as a whole, and secondly, to present yourself and act accordingly in the interview itself. Take a look at the company’s website to get a better insight into their recent developments and successes. Articulating this information to your interviewer will show you have initiative, as well as conveying that you have a true interest in becoming part of the team.
- Answers – A further recommendation is to prepare answers to some ‘mock’ questions. Interviewers will often ask you to define your skills or how you are as a person, and then expect you to back it up with examples. If you can ensure you have these examples to hand, you will find yourself able to answer questions confidently and without hesitation. However, potential employers want to know the real you, so make sure not to sound overly rehearsed. It is important to come across as natural and at ease.
- First impression – Research has shown that an individual will subconsciously make their mind up about another in the first 30 seconds of meeting. On that basis, a great first impression is absolutely crucial when attending an interview. Give yourself plenty of time to get there, arriving a little early to show you have good time keeping skills. On greeting the interviewer, smile warmly and give a confident handshake. Eye contact is also very important so keep a steady gaze and make sure to maintain this throughout.
- Attire – What you are wearing and how you physically present yourself will contribute to how you are first perceived, so you need to make sure you are dressed to impress. If the company is very corporate, wear a smart suit and have your hair neat and tidy. If the company is more creative, you may want to dress slightly more casual, so long as you are clean and smart. Most importantly, make sure you look and feel good, as this will reflect in your interview technique.
- Sell yourself – Once in the interview, keeping calm and answering the questions in an articulate, concise and composed manner is what matters most. Concentrate on why you are the best person for the job. Often, in the job specification, there will be a list of competencies and qualities that the potential employer is looking for. Revert back to your prepared examples here in order to demonstrate that you have the necessary skills and personality to fill the position perfectly.
- Don’t panic – Be aware that not everything can be premeditated. It is likely that you will be asked a question you had neither expected nor planned for. Don’t panic and stay calm. Think the question through properly before answering whilst keeping your composure. This will be sure to impress the interviewer.
- Positivity – A positive attitude is imperative. Try not to be negative about previous roles you have had in the past as it can portray an unenthusiastic or bitter attitude to work. If you have had a negative experience with a past employer, simply say it did not work out or it was time to move on. Concentrate on your positivity and enthusiasm for the current role rather than reflecting on the past.
- Friendly – Lastly, try to keep things friendly and relaxed throughout. Building a rapport is important as it shows that you are easy to get on with. It will also give your interviewer an insight into how well you would fit in with the company and rest of the staff.
- Ask questions – Often in an interview, you will be given the chance to ask your own questions. This is your time to find out about more about the company: their culture, strengths and goals. You can also clarify anything you may not fully understand about what they do as a company or what the role encompasses. By asking questions it shows that you are inquisitive and also demonstrates your interest in the job.
- Once out of the interview, say good-bye to your interviewer, again, with a firm handshake and a smile. Tell them you look forward to hearing from them, and, if the moment seems right, ask for their business card. Once home, you could even send an email thanking them for their time. This shows how keen you are for the role and will be sure to put you in good stead with your potential employer.
By following these tips, you can really impress. Preparation, selling yourself, good body language and asking questions will all contribute towards a great interview. But most importantly, be yourself.
Author: Kate Dow is from atticrecruitment.co.uk who specialise in PA, Secretarial and Graduate Recruitment.