It’s difficult enough for recruiters and hiring managers to notice your CV out of the thousands of CVs they receive, so getting the interview is a big win! This doesn’t mean you’re home free – it’s essential that you prepare properly for the interview and 1) give the interviewers what they want, AND 2) get what you want out of the interview.
These tips will help you to establish a good impression with your interview and ensure that the interview is a win-win for both of you.
1. Make a great first impression
We’ve all heard it before but the first three seconds after you met someone knew is the most important. When you first meet your interviewer, before you have uttered a word you would have made a first impression with how you’re dressed, your facial expression, and your overall demeanour. Dressing appropriately for an interview supports your image as a person who takes the interview process seriously and understands the nature of the industry in which you are trying to become employed.
2. Arrive prepared
Too many job candidates think that interviews are all about the company grilling them to see if they’re the right person for the job. However, a job interview is an opportunity to establish whether you’re right for each other. Do your research – visit the company’s website, look up the CEO, Managing Director, or General Manager on LinkedIn and social media to get an idea of their vision for the company, any awards they may have received, and what the media is saying about them. If your interviewer happens to ask the question, “What makes you the right person for the job?” – instead of answering with a point-by-point account of how your skills match up with the job spec, you can confidently talk about how the company’s philosophy is in line with your own goals, and then get down to how you’ll achieve the daily specifics.
It’s insulting to the company if you haven’t bothered to take the time to look them up and learn more about why the company was established and what they’ve achieved.
3. Be honest and straightforward
While you may be nervous about answering the interview questions with what the interviewer wants to hear, remember that if you got the job, you’ll need to follow through with your performance when you arrive for work – from Day 1. That means: no nonsense. Don’t bloat your career experience with white lies or adopt a “fake it till you make it” attitude. Interviewers are savvy about candidates telling lies or being too enthusiastic about their previous work experience and when they catch on to any BS, they will catch you out.
Don’t brag about your past achievements, but rather show how your problem-solving skills, specific expertise, or the right opportunity presented to you, helped you to meet your previous employer’s requirements. This shows that you’re aware of your position within a team – that it’s not just about you and your amazingness.
4. Let the interviewer know that you want the job
Sure, you’ve rocked up for the interview. You look your best. You know about the company. You’re answering your interview questions with ease. It should be a given that you want the job, right? Wrong. While you shouldn’t break down and resort to begging for the job, one crucial step that many interviewees miss is to overtly inform the interviewer that they are genuinely interested in the job.
How do you do this? Towards the end of the interview, you’ll be able to tell whether the process has gone well and if it has, this is the perfect time to add the cherry on the cake: “Based on what I’ve learned about your company and the requirements of this vacancy, I know I’d be a great fit because it really aligns with who I am and what I want to do. Your company seems like a great place to work because of X, Y, Z and I can certainly contribute to what you do.”
5. Above all else, practise.
Look in the mirror or take a video of yourself as you answer typical interview questions. This will help to build your confidence a bit and eliminate some of those nerves.
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