Arrive 10 minutes early to interview and give a firm handshake, a smile and eye contact. Above all, be positive! First impressions last! It’s not unheard of for the director of the company to ask the receptionist what their first impression of you was.
It is a certainty that you will be asked questions about the company. What research have you done? What attracted you to this company? What do you know about the companies background and culture? Make sure to do your homework as companies want to know that you want to join them and are not just applying for any job.
Possess a deep understanding of the company. Not just the ‘about us’ section of their website. Look at LinkedIn profiles, what is their reputation in the market, maybe you saw an article about them…… assure them that you know what they do, how they do it, that you have an appreciation for their corporate culture and know why their company is of particular interest to you.
Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.
Although it should be a given, make sure you know your CV inside and out as most of the questions will be tailored towards your experience. You should prepare answers to questions about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as being able to explain why you would be the best person for the job. Refer to the job spec and match your experience and skills to it.
Practice competency based questions. Give an example of when you’ve led a team? Give an example of when you’ve overcome a problem at work?
Use the CAR Approach.
- Context: Describe the situation and the task you were faced with, when, where, with whom?
- Action: How? What action did YOU take? Sometimes people focus on what the group did without mentioning their individual contribution.
- Result: What results did you achieve/conclusions did you reach/what did you learn from the experience?
Be expressive. Expand on your answers. Answer the question and reassure the interviewer of your competence by expanding on your answer. Short answers are frustrating for an interviewer, they want to listen, they do not want to drag answers out of you.
Always dress to impress. Dressing one level above the job you’re applying for shows a desire to succeed. Appearances shouldn’t matter, but the plain fact is that you are often judged before you’ve even uttered a word. Make sure to wear something you are comfortable and confident in.
Although it’s easy to say but try not to be too nervous as you want the interviewer to get to know the real you. Good preparation is the key to staying in control. Make sure to know where you are going for interview and to do a dry run the day before. Allow extra time for traffic delay etc. Remember to speak clearly, smile and remember that your interviewers are just normal people, and they may be nervous too!
Towards the end of the interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Make sure to prepare a minimum of 5 questions as its shows the interviewer that you have an interest in the role and the company. It’s always a good idea to ask about the next steps in the process also and when you expect to hear from them.
When the interview is finished and you are back to your car, take out a notepad and pen, and write down as much as you can about your thoughts on the interview and what you could have answered better while it is fresh in your head. This will help you with preparation for the next rounds.