The interview is such a critical process. Making the greatest impact during the interview determines what happens next. Most interviewers know the moment that you walk in where you stand in the candidacy pool. Staying on the shallow end and keeping your head above water is the best way to land the jobs.
Dress for Success
Dressing the part of the job has often gone to the wayside of many interviewees. In reality, this is the first impression that your interviewer will get of you and how you’re dressed can deeply reflect on you as a potential candidate.
From the moment that you walk through the door, your interviewer is sizing you up. If you’re this far into the door, you have hopefully done some research on the company that you’re working for. You already have an idea of their company culture and how you think you would fit into it. This includes the work place dress code. Dressing down can make you look like somebody who is far too relaxed and doesn’t take themselves or the job seriously. Being overdressed can been seen as a sign of over compensation. If you are genuinely unsure, then always dress sharply but don’t overdo it.
This could possibly be the most critical part of the interview. Your potential employer has your CV in their hand. They can see what your technical attributes are. At this point, you’ve passed the qualifications on paper.
The purpose of the face-to-face interview is to establish your candidacy as an employee. This includes how you handle situations and how you’ll get along. Be calm and relaxed but don’t be aloof. You will be asked a lot of questions. Ask questions back, even if you already know the answer. By being engaging, you will build a repertoire with your interviewer. This will weigh heavy in their interviewer’s mind and will likely have you moved up to the next level of consideration based on this alone.
Don’t Talk Too Much
You’ve established the repertoire with your interviewer but this is their show. There’s an old military saying that goes something like: Loose lips sink ships.
It’s easy to get into a habit of putting your cards all on the table in order to show your worth. In all honesty, this provides a shock to the interviewer and could be detrimental. The interviewer wants to maintain control of the situation and if you begin to dominate the conversation, you can easily find yourself on the “we’ll call you” list. Save the conversation for the right opportunities when they ask for questions.
Also, keep your conversation related to the interview. You will be asked about certain past experiences and whilst it may be admirable and a challenge for you to run that marathon in which you placed in the top 100 of your age bracket, your interviewer doesn’t really care.
Create a Presentation
An interview is much like a marketing presentation. You are putting a pitch in for your candidacy for why you should be hired. Like any marketing presentation, having a gimmick not only provides a way to present who you are but it does it a manner that is memorable.
Keeping in mind your surroundings and company, providing a formal presentation of who you are and what you can offer the company is an excellent way to find yourself next in line for that position. Don’t go overboard but be creative with it. Include facts and figures and put a little bit of personality behind it.
Treat the interviewer like a customer or client whilst finding that balance where you are able to present effectively without being an annoyance. If the interviewer doesn’t allow it, then more than likely you were already out of the candidacy pool before you walked in the door.
Close the Deal
When interviewing, this is the greatest mistake that people make. After time has been spent through the interview you and your interviewer should know exactly where you stand. The interviewer surely already has their mind set by the final handshake of the interview whether you advance or not. During that handshake, be direct. Confidence goes a long way. If you think things went well, boldly ask your interviewer where you stand. If not, your answer will make it clear.
Finding a job can be difficult and the odds are far in favour of the competition. You’ve made it past the gauntlet of the human resources screening. The next phase is the interview. Most interviewers already have an idea where you place in the candidacy. By utilising these tips, you will be presenting yourself as not only the best candidate but the only candidate worth talking to. Check out LiveCareers Interview Videos and Tips for more expert interview advice.
First appearances count:
Always dress and look your best. Immaculate shoes, a clean shave or a freshly pressed suit are easy ways to pick up extra points. Maintain eye contact as much as possible and avoid the obvious pitfalls of slouching, folded arms or hands in pockets.
Learning about the company you are interviewing with is essential, but your research doesn’t have to end here… Who are the company’s main competitors? What are the industry trends? How might this company improve its current product or service offering? Are there any opportunities for revenue growth? Your level of knowledge will play a large role in determining how much value you can add to a given company (exactly what the interviewer is trying to assess!).
Prepare for difficult or common questions:
- Why should I hire you?
- Why haven’t you found a job yet?
- How many jobs have you applied for? Why didn’t you apply for more?
- Why did you leave your previous employment?
- What did you dislike about your old job?
- There is a gap between these two employment entries, what did you do in this period?
- How can you add value to our company?
- Aside from financial reward, what do you hope to gain from this employment?
- How would you describe our brand to a person that had never heard of us?
- What attracts you to this job?
- What are your weaknesses?
- Tell us about a role you performed badly in.
- What are your strengths?
- What is your biggest achievement?
- Describe yourself in three words.
- How would your friends describe you?
- What do you get up to in your spare time?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
- Where do you see yourself at the height of your career?
Know your CV:
Employers will often use your CV as a loose structure for the interview, so be ready to speak extensively about every point you made on it. Be ready to talk about any unexplained gaps in your career history (a common line of question), any specific achievements, and the circumstances surrounding each of your previous jobs.
Interviews don’t have to be one-way:
Have at least three well-researched questions ready for the employer. The quality of the question will demonstrate interest, level of knowledge and encourage the interviewer to interact with you on a less formal level.
Take your time:
Pause and think before answering difficult questions. Ask politely for the interviewer to repeat a question if necessary.
Be aware of current affairs:
A good way of finding some common ground.
- Begin your preparation well in advance (24 hours before if possible).
- Get a good nights sleep.
- Leave yourself a few hours before to go over your interview checklist.
- Get to the interview early.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks.