Job interviews can be daunting. For many people who have the skills and the knowledge to advance their career, selling themselves in an interview is still a big challenge.
Research suggests that interviewers reach final decisions about applicants on an average of four minutes after meeting them. To succeed in an interview, applicants need to establish a good first impression, demonstrate their abilities and end on a positive note.
Here are some worthwhile tips you can put into practice next time you get that important interview.
Arrive fifteen minutes early to your interview. This demonstrates that you take this opportunity seriously and respect the employer. It also gives yourself time to relax, drink some water and mentally revise all of your preparation.
If you are driving to the interview, find the place in an online map and search for nearby parking options.
If you are catching a train or bus, plan your journey ahead of time and allow for delays. Employers want someone trustworthy, with good organisation and time-management skills.
While what you say is important, how you are dressed will have a lot of influence over an employer’s first impression of you.
When in doubt of the appropriate dress code, it is best to check with the interviewer. If you are still unsure, remember that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Make sure you have a neat, professional hairstyle, limited jewellery and a solid-colour suit. For men, find a conservative tie and a moderate amount of aftershave is ideal.
A good way to think about it is that you do not want to be remembered for your attire. If you wear something appropriate, you can ensure that the focus is kept on the content of your answers. It will also send the message to employers that you will adhere to the dress-code if chosen for the position.
Being prepared for an interview means researching the company or product beforehand. A good start is checking out the ‘about us’ section of the website. Try to take note of what the business lists as its aims and values. It is also useful to be familiar with its history. If you are asked about your knowledge of the company, this will be a perfect opportunity to demonstrate that you have done your homework. Just remember to put the information into your own words and make it sound natural.
You also need to be prepared with answers. Make a list of your strengths and skills. Decide what you are going to say if they ask you where you see yourself in five years.
Make sure you are prepared to answer questions about your previous jobs, particularly why your employment in these positions ended.
Finally, prepare one or two questions to ask your potential employee. At the end of an interview, many employers will ask if you have any questions for them. A good way to demonstrate that you are keen to learn is to ask about the future of the organisation, or ask for more details about something that was discussed earlier in the interview. This will also let the person interviewing you know that you are good at listening.
In the day leading up to the interview, pay particular attention to your facial expression and eye contact when talking to others.
Practice speaking in a clear and friendly tone. There is a fine line between being assertive and being arrogant.
Your dialogue with a potential employer should be more formal than a conversation with your best friends and family.
Avoid fiddling with your hair or biting your nails during the interview.
It is fairly common knowledge that how you stand, walk and shake hands influences how others perceive you. But as social psychologist Amy Cuddy reveals, these things can also increase affect how you ultimately act in a way that increases your chances of success. Different types of movement can actually lead to hormonal changes in your brain, making you more confident and relaxed.
A Positive Attitude
Tell the interviewer it is great to meet them. Even if you had no knowledge of the employer before finding an ad for a vacant position, word your responses to imply a genuine interest in the business or organisation.
Employers want a pleasant person with a can-do approach to any new task. Make sure you communicate that you are interested in what they do and that you feel your skills will be valuable to them. Frame it around your interest in contributing, rather than being purely about your own career goals.
A final thing to remember is thanking the interviewer for the opportunity before leaving.