Interviews can sometimes feel like stressful, anxiety-inducing exercises, but both you and your potential employer want the same outcome – to fill the vacancy.
Therefore, succeeding at an interview can be seen as a combination of preparation and performance on the day.
Find out about the company – where it is based, what it sells, how it presents itself, its values, history and key personnel. Knowing about a company’s new product line, website or ad campaign shows interest in a potential future employer.
Read and re-read everything – double check the job description and your application. If you think you answered something badly, plan how you might express it better in case you are picked up on it at interview. Otherwise, simply make bullet-points about the things they are looking for and exact or unique reasons you meet those requirements.
Understand the process – interviewers will usually ask certain standard questions. Think about the answers in advance, so that you can answer them clearly and concisely. These questions are typically something like:
Why do you want the job? (be aspirational)
How do your skills and experience match the post? (be specific)
What did you achieve in previous jobs? (be honest)
Why did you leave them? (be selective)
Tell us about yourself? (be memorable)
Check your past! – a 2018 survey conducted by CareerBuilder revealed that 70% of employers checked a candidate’s social media pages to form opinions about potential candidates. Check your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter pages and remove anything that might embarrass you or a potential employer.
Peak performing at an interview is all about looking and feeling your best. Below is an essential checklist:
Get a good night’s sleep
Dress smartly – business suit, tie, ironed shirt and polished shoes for men. A smart suit, dress, skirt or blouse for a woman. First impressions are everything
Arrive at least 15 minutes early
Present yourself well to receptionists or people you initially meet – you never know what influence they have
Smile, maintain eye contact and give a strong handshake
Engage with your interviewer – whether you’re being interviewed by someone from HR, your future boss or a director, they need to believe you are someone they could work with and who would improve their business tomorrow, if chosen. Always show interest in the person interviewing you, the company, enthusiasm for the job and confidence in your abilities. Try also to ‘mirror’ their behaviour – are they friendly and chatty or perhaps more perfunctory and professional?
Be Inquisitive – all interviews will have a point when the interviewer will want you to ask questions. Make sure to have these prepared well ahead of time, reflect you understand the nature of the business, and written down. Make sure these questions are open-ended and cannot be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ Always bring a notepad & pen with you as well, as some questions may come up throughout the course of conversation.
End Strongly – qualify that you want the position. Ask the interviewer how they think you performed and how closely your background & experience is aligned with the ideal candidate. Make sure to thank the interviewer for their time and always end with a firm handshake.