Job interviews are a serious challenge – but they’re also a great opportunity. This is your chance to lock down the job you want, and on your terms. The experts tell us that with any interview, the first 30 seconds is the most important, as that’s when first impressions are made and intentions set. Make that first half a minute count and ace the rest of it with these great, simple tips.
Remember that the interview process starts when you get the interview date
From the point at which you’re told about the interview you need to shift into gear. Do you know enough about the business you’re going to? If not then spend some time researching online, via social media, industry publications and websites and see what pops up via a random Google search. Can you answer questions like “why did you apply to us and not a competitor” or “what makes our business unique?” These are key questions that will make you appear focused and engaged with the brand.
Be prepared for different types of interview
The different stages of interview – initial, second or final, for example – will all involve different levels of intensity and types of questions, as well as alternate combinations of interviewers. Find out as much as you can about format and content in advance and then go in with an open mind. It’s important not to assume that any interview you do now will be like any others you’ve done before. Be prepared to be caught off guard, as interviewers like to create spontaneous responses rather than feel like they are being fed prepared lines.
Attitude is everything
The way you behave in an interview can instantly boost or destroy your chances of getting the job. Consider your responses before you speak and don’t waffle, think about your body language – how you shake hands, how you maintain eye contact – and try to be positive in all your answers. Be polite, don’t interrupt or raise your voice even if you feel you’re being challenged and say thank you at the end.
Take the whole process seriously
It’s sometimes tempting to be off hand about interviews, particularly if they’re important and we don’t really want to admit that. This approach can be very detrimental. Instead, really engage with the interview process – get inside the job description and try to work out what they’re looking for, identify your strengths and weaknesses and then find commonalities between the job requirements and what you can offer. Spend some time studying interview techniques and have a few practice interviews – ask your interviewer to catch you off guard with awkward questions so you learn to avoid a panic response.
Interviews are crucial to the process of getting your dream job – they can’t be sidestepped. Everyone is capable of giving a great interview with a little preparation and the right attitude.