Going to an interview can seem a daunting proposition to some. By putting in a bit of time to prepare beforehand can help you succeed on the day. The below might seem a lot to think about. I'd recommend if you have time practicing these tips and techniques beforehand so they feel more natural.
1) Research, Research, Research
If you haven't guessed from the title, research is at the top of the priority list for interview preparation. Good research will make you feel confident. It'll give you a deeper understanding of the business, hiring manager and job. Arming yourself with information will help you answer the interview questions in a more informed manner. Taking the time to conduct good research will help you decide if this is a business you want to work for too.
Go on the company website, Twitter feed and Linkedin. Get acquainted with their latest news, history, products and services.
Make sure you know who you're meeting by researching the hiring manager. Are they on the company website? Can you find them on LinkedIn? By familiarising yourself with their profile you'll know more about who you’re meeting and how you can be of value to their team. If you have any common interests with the people you’re meeting it’ll aid you build rapport.
Read the job description thoroughly. Think about what the company are looking for and the skills you will bring to the role. You may not have all the skills they're looking for. Think about examples of when you've demonstrated similar skills or experiences.
2) Review Common Interview Questions And Prepare Your Responses
Research common interview questions. When arranging the interview, ask if there's any specific topics you'll be discussing. How you will answer these questions? Try practicing by saying them out loud with someone else.
An interview is a little bit like a test BUT you've already been given the answers. Job descriptions contain the skills and experience that the company is looking for. Consider how your skills match the description and experiences when you've used them. It's rare to have all the skills. You will have some skills gap, so prepare to talk about the actions you would take to gain this experience.
3) Dress Appropriately
Choosing what to wear for an interview can sometimes prove a challenging topic. Taking the time to consider what you wear will set you up to make a great first impression.
Still not sure? Ask the person you’re arranging the interview with what the company dress code is. If you're still struggling, I'd recommend smart business dress as it's a given for most companies. True, some workplaces are taking a more relaxed approach to attire. It's still wise to choose more conventional office wear to create a professional first impression.
73% of hiring managers agree they look for candidates to have good personal appearance.
4) Arrive In Good Time
Be on time. That doesn’t mean walking through the door when you’re interview is due to start. By that point you’re running late. This means being sat in reception, ready to meet your interviewer 5 – 10 minutes before your interview is due to start. This will give you time to relax and prepare yourself, before going into the interview. Familiarise yourself with the location of the company ahead of the day and work out how you're going to get there. Take into consideration traffic can alter the length of travel time.
96% of hiring managers agree a candidate’s timekeeping is influential on their decision.
5) Make Lasting Impressions
Be authentic. This can feel unnerving especially when you’re really interested in the company and role. You may want to try and second guess what their looking for or the type of person you’ll think will best fit their team. It’s important to be yourself. If you’re not and you get the role, this will quickly become obvious when you start in the role. By being you - you’ll find a company that embraces who you are and nurtures your development.
Be upbeat, and give well thought out, focused and concise answers. Take a moment to think through what you’re going to say. Don’t over complicate your answers and once you’ve finished don’t feel the need to fill a silence that is left behind.
6) Some Basic Body Language Tips
Body language is important when it comes to making lasting impressions. Research shows interviewers make a decision on a candidate within 7 minutes. So make the most of this short time.
82% of hiring managers look for candidates who are able to hold eye contact. To stop yourself from unintentionally staring the interviewers out, try focusing away from their eyes to the side and back again will prevent this.
Plant both feet firmly on the ground. Not only will this keep you steady in your seat but there’s a scientific benefit to it. Patti Wood, body language expert and author of SNAP – Making the most of first impressions, body language and charisma explains:
"It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to answer highly complex questions unless both of your feet are on the ground," Wood says. "It has to do with being able to go back and forth easily between the limbic reptilian brain to the neocortex brain."
Simply put, planting your feet in on the floor can help you go between the creative thought and highly complex rational thought more easily.
When you walk, do it with confidence. I’m not suggesting practice your best swagger or puff your chest out peacock style into a room. But, by pulling your shoulders back and down, elongating your neck and keeping a even paced stride you’ll appear confident in yourself.
7) Ask Questions
Ask insightful questions. Use all the great research you carried out before the interview to prepare questions. Use this opportunity to find out more about the company culture and team. Are there any external factors you discovered in your research that might affect the companies performance? How are they looking to overcome this? Think about what you genuinely find intriguing and would like to know. It’s OK to write these questions down and take them with you.
8) Thank Interviewer(s)
At Element, we highly recommend to all our candidates that they write a personalised thank email to the interviewers. It's your final opportunity to concisely relay the reason you're interested in the opportunity. This can set you apart from other candidates. Remind the interviewers why you are the best person for the role and engaged with the opportunity they have to offer.
Statistics carried out and provided by London-based Monster.co.uk