In today’s fast-moving world of digital media and social networks, it’s important to remember that whatever technology you may have used to get your foot in the door, the face-to-face interview is still what will ultimately win you the job offer.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a copious amount of good advice online about how to succeed, but mixed with some old-fashioned common sense, here’s how you can ace that interview.
1. On time = 15 minutes early
Interview day is not the day to decide to have a lie-in as if you have a day off. On time means 15 minutes early. This will give you time to refresh what you know about the company, gather your thoughts and focus ahead of the interview. There may be some company literature in the waiting area you can look over before you are greeted by your interviewer. Plus, you will be calmer. Your breathing should be calmer after your journey in, after you have had a sit down and composed yourself. I wouldn’t recommend being more than 15 minutes early, though. You could be waiting around for a while, which may come across as a little sketchy to the employer. So don’t forget, on time = 15 minutes early.
2. Don’t “just wing it”
It’s easy enough to think about what questions will be asked at the interview by reading the job description several times and seeing what questions it may might prompt. Make sure you do your research on the employer. Showing you know nothing about the company shows you’re not that bothered about the job. Remember, interviews are all about trying to sell yourself. A common question which employers will ask is “tell me about yourself”, so think about this question in relevance to the position on offer. They will ask you questions about your experience, which again, you should answer in relation to the job on offer. If you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail, so don’t just wing it. Do your homework and go in armed with a plan about what you want to say and how you want to say it.
Come on, let’s see some teeth. Smiling is often forgotten in interview situations, as candidates often think showing personality is not professional. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being friendly and personable speaks volumes. Would you want to have a miserable colleague? I know my answer. Practice in the mirror if you need to beforehand. Strong eye contact and a firm handshake are also important. It’s a cliché, but you only get one chance to make a good first impression… so don’t waste it.
4. Control Those Jitters
Let’s be honest, everyone gets nervous in an interview. Even if you have done all your homework, those well-rehearsed answers can sound nervous. If you can hear you voice is giving you away, take a second to compose yourself, remain calm and control your breathing. A prickly interviewer can be unnerving too, so just try to mirror them. This doesn’t mean become prickly yourself, but if they are staid and very buttoned–up, be a bit shorter with your answers and mirror their personality. Remember, an interview is a two-way process. Always allow the interviewer to lead the conversation, but ask questions as you go along, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat or clarify a question, and keep the conversation flowing nicely.
5. Don’t Forget to Say “Thank You”
Let’s be honest, we were all bought up to say this, but so many of us forget to actually say it. Thanking the interviewer for their time is not only polite, but leaves a positive lasting impression.