So you’ve put together the perfect CV, nailed the online application, and received that all important interview date, but where do you go from here?
Whether this is your first ever interview and you have no idea of what to say or do, or you’ve had plenty of interviews and just need a refresher, we’ve put together a simple top 10 tips for the perfect interview so you know all the ins and outs of making a good impression.
A successful interview starts with a solid foundation and having some pre-existing knowledge about the company you’re interviewing for can give you that all important edge over other applicants. The more research you conduct the better, by showing you have pre-existing knowledge those interviewing you will not only be impressed by your understanding, but will also appreciate the effort you’ve gone to educate yourself further prior to the interview.
Practice makes perfect and in the case of an interview having a few trial runs under your belt before the real deal can prove very beneficial. One of the best ways to practice is by answering some common interview questions, for example;
Tell me about yourself, what is your biggest weakness?
Tell me about a challenge you’ve faced and how you’ve overcome it?
Why do you want to work here?
By practicing your answers to likely questions, if you’re asked similar things in the real interview you will come across as confident, relaxed and in control.
Even before you’ve opened your mouth those interviewing you will have formed an opinion on you simply from looking at you. That’s why dressing to impress is so key. Be sure to plan out an outfit which fits the organisation and sector you’re applying for, whilst aiming to look as professional as you can. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, however try to keep accessories to a minimum, again to appear professional.
- Arrival & Preparation
There’s no excuse for lateness and when it’s your first time meeting your possible employers you don’t want your first meeting to be delayed because you weren’t on time. Aim to arrive at around 15 minutes before your interview is set to start to give yourself a few minutes to get into the right mindset and familiarise yourself with the dynamics of your possible workspace.
Being prepared for any situation in your interview is key. The day before the interview be sure to print off some extra copies of your CV, prepare any portfolio work you may have, and pack a notebook and pen just in case. Finally, when you arrive at the location of your interview turn your phone off and if you’re chewing gum, spit it out.
- First Impression
First impressions are one of the most important parts of an interview and if you can make a good one you’ll set a good tone for the rest of the interview. A great rule to follow is to be kind and friendly to anyone you talk to. Employers will want to create a positive work environment so if you can show that even before meeting them you’re kind and friendly to other staff that will put you in the good books. When you first meet the interviewer(s) keep in mind that first impressions set the tone so do your best to act in a friendly and professional manner. Be sure to smile, make eye contact, speak in a friendly and warm tone and offer a firm (but not too firm) handshake.
- Body Language
Actions speak louder than words and even if you’re the smartest applicant of everyone who’s applied to a role, if you sit slouched in your chair, yawning and playing on your phone your chances of getting the job are very low. Whilst in the interview you should aim to keep an open and positive body language throughout; make eye contact, hold a good posture, nod and actively listen to your interviewer.
Sometimes having all the facts will get you the job, however, in most cases interviews are much more than just giving a response and personality is just as key as knowledge. When giving your responses you should always be truthful and authentic. Provide responses that showcase your skills and experience whilst still answering the questions you’re posed. Try and keep your answers as concise as you can and to the point, no interviewer wants to feel like they’re watching a monologue. Finally, no matter how much you’re pressured into an answer, under no circumstance should you bad mouth any previous employers. The interview should be about you and what you can bring to the role.
- Ask Questions
While you are there to answer the questions and show the interviewers what you’re made of, asking questions yourself is a very effective tactic in interviews. It shows that you’re invested in the company and want to learn more about your possible employers. Questions can also be a good way to show you have previous knowledge of the company, for example you could include a fact about the company in your question which shows the interviewer(s) you’ve done your research and are willing to learn.
- Sell Yourself & Close the Deal
At the end of the day the interview is all about you showing off your skills and proving you’re the ideal candidate for the role. The most direct and effective way you can do this is by selling yourself and by doing this at the end of the interview it will help leave a positive impression in the interviewer’s mind. Imagine you’re a salesperson and the product you’re selling is your ability to work within the organisation you’re applying for. When you sense the interview drawing to a close the next step is about showing your interest.
- Say Thank You
Whether it’s in real life after the interview, via phone or via email, make sure you thank the interviewer(s) for the oppourtunity. You can go the extra mile by thanking each person that interviewed you at the end of the interview itself and then sending an email a few hours later thanking them again. This again shows you’re interest and demonstrates professionalism.
If you follow these simple tips you’ll be an interview wiz and you’ll be turning down job offers left, right and centre. So get practicing, good luck!