Top 10 Tips For Job Interview Success
1. Preparation is key
Being prepared for an interview, may seem like an obvious tip, but the importance of it, really can't be overstated. Before you walk in to an interview, you should be able to confidently recite your strengths and weaknesses and everything that makes you an ideal candidate for the role. You should have researched the company thoroughly, and have a strong comprehension of their goals and values, and how you plan to help them achieve these.
Try to anticipate some of the questions you may be asked, and come up with answers in advance. Make sure that these sample answers align with the company's core values. Often interviewers will ask you to provide examples of when you exhibited a certain behavior that's important to the company. Such as safety, or efficiency improvements. Ensure you have a few examples in mind before walking into the interview, so you can avoid any long silences, whilst you take time to think of one.
You should think of a job interview as a presentation that you'll be giving on why the employer needs you on their team. Make sure that you prepare a sales pitch that makes you sound like an offer too good to refuse.
2. Practice, practice, practice
Preparation will help you with the material needed to be able to answer the interviewer's questions. But practice will give you the confidence to do it well.
Even the most qualified and well prepared applicants can be undone by nerves. And knowing the answer won't be enough, if you can't articulate it confidently to the interviewer.
Practice your prepared answers to anticipated questions aloud, until they come naturally and without hesitation. You can practice with someone else, and ask for feedback. Or by yourself, and record your answers to be able to understand how you will sound to others. It's up to you. The important thing is that you practice until the process is second nature.
3. Dress the part
Try to present yourself appropriately, in line with the company's current dress policy. Different industries will obviously have different standards and cultures. So the level of dress will probably be different for someone applying to an executive position in an investment firm, as opposed to someone applying to a fashion retail outlet, or a tech start up.
Your recruitment contact should be able to provide some guidance on the appropriate level of attire. And if in doubt, you'll be better off dressing up, than dressing down.
You may be thinking that appearance shouldn't matter. But in this case, it's less about a shallow assessment of how you look, and more of an appraisal as to whether you will be a good fit with the company's culture and values.
4. Make a great first impression
You only get one chance to make a first impression, and research indicates that some interviewers have made up their mind about a candidate, within the first 5 minutes. So it's important to put your best foot forward.
Make sure that you bring positive energy and enthusiasm with you, the moment you walk in the door. Thank the interviewer for their time. Let them know that you've been looking forwarding to meeting with them, and that you're excited about the prospect of working with the company to achieve a specific goal.
Make sure that when you walk in, you do so confidently. Which will be much easier, now that you've prepared and practiced for the encounter.
5. Bring a copy of your resume
This can be helpful if you arrive to an interview and the interviewer has misplaced their copy among the piles of other applicants. It shows forethought and planning on your behalf.
You may have a recent achievement that wasn't included in the resume that you submitted for the application. This then provides an opportunity to bring it up, as you casually hand the interviewer your updated resume.
It can also be helpful to read back through your resume whilst your waiting for your turn to be seen. The interviewer may refer to your employment or education history, and it's important that you don't inadvertently contradict yourself.
If you're looking for a resume to help you impress recruiters and interviewers alike, then check out our professional resume and cover letter writing services.
6. Engage with the interviewer
Rather than sitting back and waiting for the interviewer's next question, engage with them. A good interview should feel less like an interrogation and more like a conversation. The interview will be a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved, if the conversation is flowing openly, and the interviewer isn't having to pry information out of you.
Feel free to share your own relevant insights, but never interrupt the interviewer. And make sure you practice active listening. Maintain eye contact and an open posture, and keep the enthusiasm going.
7. Be honest and positive about your past
Avoid the temptation to overstate your skills or accomplishments. Or to lie about why you left you're previous position. In the days of social media, networking, and Google, it's often pretty easy for recruiters and interviewers to fact check your claims. If you're caught out fudging the numbers, even a little bit, you could completely derail your employment prospects with that employer.
If your departure from your previous place of employment was less than glamorous, be open and honest when asked about it. There's no need to go into all the gory details, but you should be able to explain clearly why you left, and what you learnt from the experience. And how that makes you an even stronger candidate for this position.
Never bad mouth previous employers or companies. Regardless of whether it's warranted, it will only serve to demonstrate a negative attitude on your behalf. Employers want people willing to take personal responsibility for their own actions and situation.
8. Prepare your own questions
Interviewers will often finish up by asking if you have any questions. This gives you an opportunity to learn more about the position. But it's also a chance to show that you were listening during the interview, or to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and its values.
You can ask for clarification around a point mentioned earlier in the interview. Or you can show your interest in a current company project, by asking about it's progress. Avoid small talk, and use this opportunity to demonstrate your assertiveness and analytical skills. Make sure you have some questions prepared ahead of time, based on your company research.
9. Finish strong and ask for feedback
Even if you've prepared, practiced, and presented well, it's important to finish the interview just as confidently as you started. Tell the interviewer that you appreciate their time and that you feel the interview went well. Ask them whether they feel confident now that you would be a great fit for the role, or if there are any areas where they need more convincing. This may give you the opportunity to overcome their hesitations, or identify gaps that you need to address before your next interview.
Whether you feel you went well or not, it's important to ask for feedback from the interviewer. Even if you get the job, it probably won't be the last time you find yourself in front of an interviewer. And knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the first step to closing the gaps.
10. Follow up
Don't just sit around after the interview hoping for the best. Take action to follow up. This doesn't necessarily mean ringing the recruiter every five minutes, to find out if you got the job.
You can send a thank you note. This is both to show a genuine appreciation for the employer's consideration, and the interviewer's time and feedback. It will demonstrate your assertiveness to the employer, and also keep your name front of mind with the recruiter.
If you feel the interview went badly, but you know you would be a great fit for the role, then you can use this as an opportunity to let the interviewer know where you think you failed to accurately communicate your worth as a candidate. Let them know what value you have to offer the company, and that you would love to have the opportunity to contribute to their goals. This may or may not be successful, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
If you aren't successful in landing the position, don't give up. Take everything you've learnt from the experience and use it to strengthen your interview performance for your next application.
If you put this advice into practice for your next interview, then you'll be giving yourself the greatest chance of success. And if you'd like to boost your chances of getting to the interview stage with your next application, talk to us about our professional resume and cover letter services, today.
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