An interview is the one chance to make an impression stick!
You have done well to get the interview and have a real opportunity to stand out. Be prepared, do your homework, practice the tricky questions and remember to ask questions to help you make an informed decision. Interviews are a two way street and the more interest you show, the more you will be remembered. Plan some pointers to make your interview a success!
Before the Interview
Presentation is always a key factor in making a statement about who you are. If the corporate world is new to you, take the time to read some business magazines. Invest in a good quality suit as your professional attire will speak volumes.
Do Your homework
Take the time to research the company. Browse their website and familiarise yourself with whether they are a public or private company, what culture they promote, type of industry, clients they work with and what attracted you to their advertisement? Remember these points and think about what makes you the most unique and compelling candidate.
During the Interview:
Be prepared for the following questions:
How would you describe yourself?
What motivates you to be successful?
What are your strengths and competencies?
Tell me about a time you have demonstrated teamwork, leadership, crisis management etc.
What would you bring to the role?
Position yourself in a positive approachable way. What you don’t say can communicate more than your words. Think about the body language that spells confidence – a firm handshake, composure, sitting forward, pausing, considering your answers and not rushing in nervously, maintaining eye contact and minimum movement.
Play Your Role
What is the company really looking for? If you know a little about the role you will know how to match it. Seek out the pointers that complement your experience and skills. If the role asks for sales ability, think about how you can draw on your experience, it might be different, but can be tailored.
Point of Sale
If you have examples of your work, achievements or other interesting additions that can help make you stand out, bring them along with you. These examples will demonstrate your experience and show your level of interest in the role.
You must be ready to expand on the information presented on your resume and anticipate the route the interviewer might take. No one fits a job perfectly so emphasise your most relevant skills and slant answers to reassure the interviewer that any shortfall is not a problem.
Practice makes perfect. In preparation of your interview, test your fluency by role playing or presenting to a friend or partner.
Don’t use tentative language. Phrases such as ‘I feel I could’, ‘I think I can’. 'Perhaps I would' - dilutes the strength of your case.
Don’t confine your answers to monosyllabic ‘yes’ and ‘no’s’ as it makes the interview seem like an interrogation. Be enthusiastic but don’t constantly interrupt.
Don’t be evasive. Make a virtue of any career gaps on your resume.
After the Interview
Follow up with the consultant or interviewer.
Thank-you notes leave a warm and lasting impression.
Ask for feedback on your interview performance.
Some people always seem to succeed at interviews. They're not lucky, their secret is careful preparation. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be and the more success you will have. Remember, if you have prepared properly, when you go to an interview you will already have beaten most candidates.