Interview Tips: The 3 P’s…Prepare, Practise, and Perform!
Creating a great First Impression
Arrive a few minutes early for your interview. When you meet your interviewer, smile, make eye contact and give a firm handshake. Research shows that an interviewer may make up their mind about you within 30 seconds of meeting you, subconsciously deciding whether they like you and whether you would be a good fit into the team.
Before your interview
Ensure you know what vacancy you are applying for. Read the job advert and know your CV. Do some thorough research into the company by looking at the company website and literature. You may be asked what salary you would like, so make sure you research that (if they have not already stated what the salary is).
Practice your body language. Never fold your arms and lean back or look at the floor! Try to sit upright and maintain good eye contact. Use your hands and lean forward when talking.
Listen and respond accordingly
It is acceptable to have a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. It’s better to say you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards. Start planning your answer before the interviewer has finished speaking, so as not to give an inappropriate answer and ask for clarification if you are uncertain of what was asked.
Why should they hire you?
Demonstrate your abilities and knowledge that relate to the job role. Have examples of your accomplishments and success stories, especially if you can describe how a key accomplishment demonstrates a desired competency.
The last thing your potential new employer will want to hear is you talking about your current employer or colleagues in a negative manor. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic, however, whilst you want to appear confident, never verge towards arrogance as this will not be seen as a positive trait.
Expect the unexpected
It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “Who is your favourite book character and why?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not avoid it.
Show your interviewer your positive energy, sense of humour and remember to smile. Ask your interviewer questions about themselves, but, keep the questions professional i.e. “What have you enjoyed most about working here?” and any issues the business is facing i.e. coping with increased external competition.
Try to come across as natural as possible which will also make you appear more confident. Even if you have prepared and memorised your own answers, you should be careful to make sure that you don’t come across as too rehearsed, your interview should be a conversation not a recital.
Follow-up after your interview
Ask your interviewer for a business card at the end of your interview and follow it up by sending a “thank-you” e-mail, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to reiterate the key skills you could offer them.