Tips for interview success

The interview is absolutely the most critical part of the employment process. People don’t hire PDFs or print-outs, they hire people, so making the right impression when you get face to face is essential. With that in mind, here are a few tips – separated into the basics, so you don’t forget them, and the real game changers.

The Basics

Dress smartly and appropriately: Show your possible new employers you look professional and neat. First impressions count!

Be on time (but don’t be too early): Arrive late, and you might as well turn round and go home again. Turn up an hour early, and the interviewer will question your judgement

Do your research:Employers don’t want to hear about why you are leaving your current employer – they want to know why you want to join them! Show that you have done your research. Most companies have a website, facebook page, Linkedin page, twitter feed – plenty of sources for you to learn about the company and their culture. The chances are your interviewer will have a personal Linkedin page too – take a look and see if you have anything in common.

Be confident and relaxed: When entering an interview, make sure you shake hands firmly with everyone in the room and introduce yourself individually. Good eye contact and a smile works wonders!

The Game Changers

Prepare examples: Everyone can make bold claims about how much of a team player or how ambitious they are. The only way the interviewer will know for sure is with specific examples of when you have demonstrated these traits.

Ask Questions: This is a crucial part of the interview and often overlooked by the candidate, but an important part of the evaluation process for the interviewer. I have seen a candidate hired not on the answers he gave, but on the questions he asked. It showed that he had thought about the role and some of the challenges that he might face.If you are offered the chance to ask questions, don’t say no, nothing to ask. If you wanted the job, you’d probably have just blown it. In any job interview, the candidate who asks nothing is at the least missing an opportunity to find out more about the position; at the worst damaging their chances of getting hired. A few further points to note:

  • Show spontaneity – ask a question that relates to something the interviewer told you, something that you’re genuinely interested to hear the answer to. It demonstrates you have been listening
  • Avoid the obvious – obvious questions are pointless, a missed opportunity to ask something better and could irritate the interviewer. For example, “What skills are you looking for?” or “How much annual leave would I get?”
  • Engage – ask a question that relates to the interviewer themselves, as a person – engage with them on a personal level e.g. why do you like working at this company?

Finish strong: If after all that, you think you would like to get this job – tell the interviewer that: I’m excited by this and I want the job. Employers will feel reassured if you personally believe that this is the right opportunity for you and you share their enthusiasm for the company.