Gearing up for an interview? Regardless of how many times you’ve done this previously, it’s natural to feel those nerves. But fret not, because we’ve gathered some top interview tips from industry experts to help you make the best first impression.
Research the Employer AND the Interviewer
Scour through any piece of information you can find about the company so you can go into the interview with confidence because you can align your answers to what they value the most. You can use social media, press releases, and of course, the company’s own website to gather information.
It may also be worth your while to go through the profile of your interviewer. This way, you’ll get an idea of what to expect during your interview.
Practice Common Interview Questions
You can run a web search to find out typical interview questions that could be asked specifically to your position or experience and practice answers for them. At the same time, don’t ignore those seemingly simple questions that you get asked in every single interview either.
We’re talking about the “Tell me about yourself” and the “what are your expectations for this role”. These questions are as important as any other! You can even get a friend or relative to play the part of the interviewer so you can practice your answers.
Talk About Your Achievements
Having a list of your previous achievements on hand can be immensely helpful during the interview process. The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) is a great format for answering any question about your previous work experience. Make sure to always bring any answer back to previous achievements, specifically those related to the requirements listed in the job description. However, make sure your answers are short and to the point so you don’t end up rambling!
Prepare Your Own Questions
An interview is a two-way street, so don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer your own questions In fact, asking the right questions will signal to the interviewer that you understand the requirements of the company and that you are enthusiastic about joining the team.
Typically, questions you should ask involve your day-to-day responsibilities, how work is structured between teams, how often performance reviews will be conducted, and other similar queries. You can also ask them what skills they expect you to bring on board.
Be Early and Be Prepared
Plan to arrive at the location of your interview at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. You can use Google Maps or any other navigation app to figure out how long it will take for you to get there.
You should also make sure that you have all the documents you need printed and ready to go, preferably by the night before. Make sure you have multiple copies of your resume. You may also need to bring along other documentation such as copies of your qualification certificates, experience proof, address proof, etc. You may not need all of these, but it’s better to be prepared than to be sorry! You can also carry a notebook and pen to take notes.
Take Care of Your Appearance
The first impression is what makes the most impact when you meet someone new, so it’s imperative that you make an effort to look your best for the interview. If you’re working with a recruiter, you can ask them about the dress code at the company and pick an outfit that will fit in. Or you can do some online sleuthing to find out what current employees wear to work.
Either way, it’s important to look pleasant and presentable. This includes fussing over the small details such as shining your shoes and cutting your nails!
Good Manners Go a Long Way
Another way to make a good first impression is by practicing good manners during your visit to the company. Carry yourself with confidence, but never cross over into arrogance. Be polite with everyone you come across, all the way from the parking lot attendant to the hiring manager. Maintain eye contact, regulate the tone of your voice, and best of all – don’t forget to smile! A good attitude may just be the deciding factor between you and another candidate!
Everyone likes a person who comes across as genuine. Focus on your accomplishments, but don’t over-embellish your abilities. Interviewers prefer candidates who are humble and respectful. Be positive while answering the interviewer’s question, and never speak negatively about your past employers. If the situation arises where you need to discuss a failure at your previous job, accept responsibility and talk the interviewer through the steps you took to overcome the issue and what you did to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
Once the interview is over, you can email the hiring manager or recruiter about what to expect next. Don’t forget to send a thank you note soon after the interview, preferably within 24 hours. This way, you’ll continue to be on the minds of the ones who hold your fate in their hands. In case you end up losing out on the job, you can still request feedback on your interview performance so that you can do better next time!