In the past few months, I’ve had a few interviews regarding getting a new job. Also, as part of my job role I’ve had to conduct a few interview myself. I have learnt a lot from these and also from various other areas of education like reading certain books and the industry I work in I have a lot of face to face contact with customers, clients and other managers. A lot of these are now second nature to me because of this, some will be very obvious to you and some may not be. But all can be learnt fairly easily.
The first thing you have to think is making a good first impression, this will help. These tips will change depending on if you have a phone interview or what job you are going for, but they are great general tips for face to face interviews and there are even some tips in here just for general day to day living.
Be on time.
So this has to be one of the most important things you can do before the interview. I like the saying “if you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late.” which for job interviews is a great idea and quote to live by. Even if you do get stuck in traffic, you should have prepared for this beforehand and taken this into account when deciding what time to leave your house. It looks very bad if you turn up late to a job interview regardless of the traffic. This links in closely to the next point.
First impressions are important.
Arriving on time will be the first thing you can do to help yourself. Body language is roughly 70% of a first impression, so standing tall with your shoulders back, a smile on your face will do you a lot of favours! Next is good idea contact. In the book “4 hour work week” by Tim Ferriss there is a daily comfort challenge and it’s about making eye contact, but I warn you now – this takes confidence! Looking professional and dressing well links into first impressions (section about this later). A firm handshake is the next step, have you ever shaken somebody’s hand it’s like a wet fish? It just droops into your hand and there’s no pressure there? It’s not great.
I like to have my questions thought out beforehand before the job interview (this section is covered later on). I will also carry a copy of my own CV and a copy of the job description that I am being interviewed for. But being prepared also means you know beforehand where to go, who you are expecting to speak to and doing the usual like going to the toilet, getting a glass of water and settling in before the interview.
How you dress will change depending on the business and the job you are interviewing/being interviewed for. Ask the company beforehand what the dress code is, it will always be in your favour to ask as it shows you are wanting to be prepared. If there is no formal dress code, what do other members of staff wear usually? Dressing for an interview doesn’t always mean going in a suit and tie! Depending on the job, you could go with a sports jacket and some trousers. Or just shirt and trousers with no jacket?
There is also a second point to this section, the colour of clothing you wear. In the book “Drunk Tank Pink” it talks a lot about how different colours can cause different emotions and feelings. Black is a very overpowering and powerful colour, so unless you are going for that top CEO position and want to show that you can assert your dominance, a navy or charcoal suit or trousers will be a better idea.
Show yourself off.
The interviewer is there to listen to you and find out what you are good at. I found this very important in my last interview where I was asking about my successes in my previous role. Show yourself off, boast about something good you’ve done. Don’t try and play it off humbly if they are specifically asking you about it. At first, this may seem awkward to do if you are not used to it, but it will come in time. Know your strengths before going in by looking into what you’ve done in your current job over the past year or so.
As stated earlier in the article, have questions prepared beforehand. What’s the rota system like? What’s the training opportunities available? How do they do certain things now? What is the specific work they require you to do?
They want to know you are keen about the job, it will benefit you to prepare beforehand. You want to show that you are thinking you’re a good fit for the role, feeling out the job in your head during the interview and before the interview so to speak. This will also help you gauge whether you would be happy to work for them.
Research the company.
This links into the last section. Researching the company before the interview will show initiative. You will find out about the company structure, when were they established? Average staff turnover? What were their success stories over the past few years? What are their objectives in terms of your field or the job you are going for? The interviewers like to see you can organise yourself enough to be able to take some of your own time to learn about the company.
This will be easier for some. The question I use regularly and not only during job interviews is: Will the people I meet today ever see me again? This helps me with a lot of social situations where I don’t feel comfortable if the people I meet today don’t see me again – will they ever consider me again? Probably not.
If you sit timidly in the corner during the interview you won’t be able to show yourself off as well as you should be able to. It can be a scary thing being interviewed, but be prepared to push yourself out of your comfort level. The interviewer will try their best to make it comfortable for you but you have to have confidence in yourself and your experience to know you have what it takes to get the job if you didn’t. They wouldn’t be interviewing you, right?
Be wary that there is a line between confidence and cockiness. Allow the interview to ask the questions, take a moment to think and answer confidently. Don’t speak over them or interrupt them.
Repeat the question back to yourself after they’ve asked, nod along as they speak. Not only will this give you a moment to think about the question they have asked, it will also make sure that you fully understand the question before answering. Nothing worse than answering a question confidently only to realise you answered it wrong and getting the response “that was great, but that wasn’t the question I asked”. I’ve had to do it before and it’s not great for everyone involved. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question or have them rephrase the question.
Follow It Up
This is not so much to do during the interview but to do afterwards. After about 2 days it’s worth sending an email to the interviewer, something simple just to say “really nice meeting you, just wondering when I will hear back from you regarding the job” (don’t use these exact words). It’s great to show that you are interested and keen to find out about the job.
Make sure you practise at least a few of these before your next interview and you will get the job of your dreams!
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