10 Tips for a Great Job Interview
Once you have successfully mastered the fine art of writing a cover letter and CV, you will begin receiving requests for interviews. To reach your goal of landing that position, you will need to succeed in the job interview itself, taking you one step closer to your ultimate goal. Preparation is the key. The more time in advance you spend getting ready, the more comfortable and confident you will feel during the interview. Doing due diligence and researching every aspect of the company, job position and interviewer. Understand clearly what they are looking for, allows you to showcase your experience and show the interviewer what makes you the perfect fit for the job. You should focus on your personal and unique communication skills, speak clearly and concisely about your experience and the assets you can offer them.
1 – Research and more Research
Your ultimate success in a job interview depends on your Research. It is a solid foundation of knowledge on your part, and you should try to understand your prospective employer and the job requirements. It is even better if you get to know about the background of the interviewer. The more research you conduct, the more you will be able to answer the interview questions and respond with relevant and insightful questions. Go through every corner of the website, check online and offline publications, do a google search, check social media platforms like LinkedIn, and ask your network of contacts about the company.
2 – Dress to Kill!
Personal appearance is more important than you think, so prepare a wardrobe that fits the culture of the organisation and strive for the most professional appearance you can manage. Better to be overdressed than underdressed, or ill-dressed. Make sure to wear clean clothes, fit properly and are neatly pressed, and keep your accessories and jewellery to the absolute minimum. Brush your teeth or use mouthwash and do not smoke before or chew gum during the interview.
3 – Prepare for Common Questions
Most interviewers will use a set of standard interview questions you can prepare beforehand with ready answers that you have had time to think about carefully instead of being put on the spot. You should try and determine what you are going to be asked, compose detailed, concise responses focusing on your specific accomplishments with examples. A useful tool you can utilise to help you remember them is to put them into story form, which you can then tell during the interview. It is actually better not to memorise exact responses, instead to develop talking points.
4 – Get there Early and Prepare
The early bird catches the worm! The same is true for an interview. Get there early so you will be more relaxed and you can mentally prepare for the interview. There really is no excuse for arriving late. Try and arrive at least 15 minutes in advance if your scheduled interview to allow yourself time to get thoroughly settled and comfortable with your surroundings. You get a chance to observe the office environment and take in the vibe and dynamics of the workplace. One day before your interview, make sure you have extra copies of your resume or CV and your reference list at hand, or ready to send online. Take your portfolio of work too, if you have one and remember to pack a pen and a pad of writing paper to make notes unless you prefer to use your smartphone instead. Switch off your smartphone when the interview starts, you don’t want an embarrassing interruption if it rings.
5 – Be Confident and Candid
Once the interview gets underway, the key to your success will depend upon the quality and delivery of your responses. Try always to be authentic, and respond truthfully to the interview questions. Your goal is to get the job, and providing focused answers that showcase your skills, experience, and fit with the job and the employer. Provide examples of your accomplishments, keeping your responses short and to the point, that way you avoid long-winded, rambling answers that will likely bore your interviewer. Attempt to keep your replies short, concise, and relevant. Finally, never speak ill of a previous employer, co-worker or manager, the interviewer wants to know about you.
6 – First Impressions Count
The cardinal rule of an interview is to be very polite, offer warm greetings to the receptionist and HR manager. Employers often look for teamwork and are curious how you will treat your fellow members of staff, so being arrogant or rude will derail you. First impressions are always the ones which last, and the first few minutes can make or break your interview. Keep in mind that a positive attitude, expressing enthusiasm for the position and prospective employer are all vital in the initial stages of your interview. Most hiring managers make critical decisions about their job applicants within the first 20 minutes.
7 – Prepare Insightful Questions
Asking relevant and insightful questions is what many employers are looking for, and their judgement about you depends on those questions. Even if the job description was detailed, you would still need to ask a few questions regardless. It will prove you have done your Research on the company and that you are curious. The smarter jobseeker will always have questions prepared beforehand to ask during the interview.
8 – Body Language
Body language is as important as your interview techniques. First off, be prepared for cultural differences and traditions. Secondly, poor body language is a distraction, or worse still, a reason not to employ you. Try to use more accepted and effective forms of body language like smiling, making eye contact, keeping a robust posture, listening actively, and nodding your head. Avoid slouching, looking away in the distance, playing with your phone, fidgeting in your seat, brushing your hair back with your fingers, touching your face, mumbling or chewing gum.
9 – Close the Interview on a High
The winning candidate isn’t always the most qualified one, but the candidate who manages to impress the interviewer by responding to questions and showcasing his/her talent to fit the position and organisation. It is pretty similar to a sales pitch, with the difference that you are ‘selling’ yourself! As the interview starts to winds down, try to ask the interviewer if there are any next steps in the process, also the date you are expected to start.
10 – Send Follow-Up and say Thank You
Thanking each person involved in the interview process goes a long way in showing common courtesy and politeness. Start while at the interview itself by thanking each person warmly before you leave. Follow up with a thank-you email shortly after the meeting. Although it won’t get you the job, it will give you an edge over the other finalists. To succeed, you will need persistence, practice and Research. The more preparation and effort, the better your chances of success.