You’ve passed the first hurdle; your CV has been seen by the employer, and on the basis of the information presented, they believe that you can do the job! Then again, so can all the other candidates selected for interview.
So, how can you stand out from the crowd?
Here are IT Mob’s top hints and tips for success.
Things To Do
Be Punctual. As obvious as it may sound, ensure that you arrive in plenty of time for the interview. Always have a map and directions printed, as Sat Navs aren’t infallible & especially regarding rural locations and business/technical parks. Creating a good first impression is imperative and this is jeopardised by arriving late. If you are running late due to unforeseen circumstances such as heavy traffic/problems with public transport, have the presence of mind to ring the interviewer to inform them that you are running late, and provide them with an estimate of when you expect to arrive.
Preparation. Research the company thoroughly ( ie by looking at their website, brochures, undertaking a google search on the internet) and be aware of any newsworthy stories regarding the company that you can utilise in the interview. Equally importantly, re-read your CV, the job description, and practice your interview technique (get your partner / friends / family to interview you. Like all things in life, the more you practice, the better you get!).
Creating a Good First Impression. When meeting your interviewer for the first time, maintain good eye contact (don’t glare!), smile, and greet them with a firm handshake. In essence, you are being appraised from the moment you walk through reception, and the first 30 seconds of meeting the interviewer can already begin to cement an opinion in the interviewer’s mind. From the initial greeting, try and create a positive impression, and endeavour to make small talk as you walk to the interview room.
Manage Your Nerves We all handle interviews in different ways. Some relish the challenge of an interview, whereas others, break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.
(a) Calm yourself down by breathing a little more deeply, and slowly, and relax.
(b) When nervous, we have a tendency to speak faster, and at a slightly higher pitch. Slow down, and speak as you would normally
(c) Mirror the behaviour of the interviewer, and take their lead.
Focus on Your Strengths Being selected for interview means the interviewer already knows that you can do the job, but they would like to confirm that this is the case. Correlate the attributes, skills, and experiences that the interviewer is seeking, and think of some good examples where you have demonstrated such skills, experiences, or attributes. Play to your strengths, and don’t let any weaknesses, negative experiences, or gaps in your knowledge hinder you. It is important to point out to the interviewer that any deficiencies in skill/experience can be made up quickly through your propensity to learn rapidly(it is always a good idea to provide examples to back this up, through experiences in your career to date).
Body Language. A large proportion of the impact that you create in an interview is a result of your visual impact and the tone of your voice; and ironically enough, very little by the actual content of your words. In essence, it is not what you say, but how you say it! Non verbal communication, or body language, is comprised of:
(a) How you look. Dress appropriately, ensure your hair is neat and tidy, and avoid overpowering deodorants, after shaves, or perfumes.
(b) How you interact. Sit reasonably upright, make moderate hand movements; but don’t fold your arms.
(c) Eye contact. Maintaining good eye contact is a very effective way in which to demonstrate your interest in the job; but remember, don’t stare or glare!
(d) The style, tone, and delivery of your voice. Try not to talk too fast, or in a monotone, and keep your tone moderate.
(e) Confidence. Relax, smile, and endeavour to create a rapport with the interviewer.
Honesty. Being truthful is the best policy. There is little to be gained from lying about your background and/or skills. This also applies to gaps in the CV. If you decide to follow the path of deception, remember the truth will eventually come out – it may be in days, months, or years; but the moment the truth is revealed, you will be out of a job.
Be Positive. Remain focused on being upbeat and presenting your skills and experience in the best light. Try to come across as being enthusiastic and as someone who embraces new challenges.
Ask Questions. If you are uncertain about what is meant by a particular question, ask for clarification. You will normally be given an opportunity to ask questions usually at the end of the interview; however you do not have to wait until then. With any conversation, there will always be an appropriate time when you can interject and ask relevant questions. Finally, if it has not already been covered in the interview, ask about what the next stage of the recruitment process would entail. Always remember that interviews are a two way process. The interviewer may well be interviewing you for your suitability, but you are also interviewing them.
Leave a Positive Final Impression. The manner in which you say goodbye can leave the interviewer with a lasting good impression. Ensure you have a firm handshake, a warm smile, and make a positive remark about the interview.
If you have prepared, practiced your interview technique, and perform effectively on the day of the interview, you will be successful.
Things Not To Do
- Chew gum, smoke, eat garlic before the interview, wear over powering perfume/aftershave etc
- Talk too much
- Complain about your current/former employer
- Raise any discussion on salary.
- Leave your mobile on