Ace that interview!
Once you have submitted your resume, you then have to wait and hope that you are called for interview. Of course this is what many people fear! The interview, selling yourself, deciding on what to say. Ahhhhh! For many it is nerve racking, but just hold on and let’s see what top tips I have for you today!
Interviews are a game, and like any game you need to know the rules. The more interviews you do the better you become at them – it’s as simple as that. Plus remember that many people won’t have had that many interviews as they won’t have changed jobs that often. To become good at job interviews you need preparation and confidence. My tips are going to help you!
Remember that you may be 1 of up to 20 people being interviewed for the job so:
First, second and third impressions count!
Richard’s 9 tips for succeeding at interviews:
What are you saying about yourself online? I work with recruiters and I know that they go and look through social media profiles! It is said that 90% of employers will also do this!. Always be careful of what you post on social media and also ensure that your settings are set to private. You don’t want to miss an opportunity because of something silly you posted!.
In some countries it is now legal for an employer to ask for your social media account usernames so they can see what you are
doing on social media. They can even, in some countries, ask you to log in so they can see what you have been posting!
Before the interview
1) Do your detective work. I remember, early in my career, doing a great interview only to be asked the following question “So when did the company start?” I had to make something up but nearly kicked myself for not having done my research. Not knowing the basics can kill the interview! Research the company online, look at their LinkedIn company page but also check out their other social media profiles. Indeed it is also good to view the social media profiles of the interviewers to see if you can get any useful information about them with regard to their business life.
2) Dress to impress. Sounds like such a cliche but it is true. However, what ever you do don’t over do it. For guys A suit and tie are a safe bet. It depends on the industry etc, but better to be a little over dressed then arrive in shorts and a t-shirt! Women need to also wear a business suit, or business dress. Don’t overdo the make up, don’t wear anything too revealing (after all you want them to focus on you and not anything else!)
The most important point is to too clean and presentable, ensuing that your clothes fit you well. Something too tight or too big will just not look right no matter what brand it is!
3) Arrive early. There is no excuse for being late. Using Google maps you can get the exact route you need to take, either by car, by public transport or walking. Aim to arrive at the location at least 20 minutes early. This gives you time to relax and compose yourself. Being late for the interview will not give a good impression to the interviewer.
I suggest you arrive to the location 20 minutes early and present yourself to reception 10 minutes before the interview time. Top tip – don’t go for a coffee as if you are like me you are likely to spill on yourself or on any papers you may have. Also don’t smoke before the interview!
4) Practice makes you better! You have to practice and do more interviews to get better. You can engage in role play with a friend or a business coach to help you practice your interview techniques. In fact I have a book about job hunting available here and am also available to conduct mock Skype interviews.
There is no such thing as a perfect interview as everyone is different, however practice will always make you better.
5) See yourself. When doing a mock interview take a deep breath and decide to record yourself. It is true that no one likes to see themselves on video, however you will see any “challenges” you might have with body language, any verbal mistakes you make, for example saying um a lot! Yes this an be hard to do but it will really benefit you. You will also be able to analyse how you answer questions.
At the interview
6) The number one question – “tell me about yourself”. Always an interesting one and a tricky one. To be honest this is a conversation starter. They don’t want to know about the time you won the egg and spoon race when you were 7. I recommend you prepare a 2 minute story and use that. For example. After leaving school I went to XX university to study Economics as it was something that always interested me. During that time I did my internship with XX and then after completion of my degree I began working with YYY company. I gained valuable experience there but decided after 2 years to further my career by… Think this through and make sure that you focus on some of your attributes, your skills and how you can help the company. Be prepared for them to interrupt you and ask a few questions.
Make sure what you say does not sound rehearsed as it should be as natural as possible!
7) Know your strengths and weaknesses. One question you will always be asked is what are your strengths and then what are your weaknesses. Be modest when talking about your strengths as you need to portray that you are capable of doing the job but don’t want to brag!
Talking about your weaknesses can be difficult, but interviewers want to see if you can self analysis yourself. My suggestion is always to have a number of weaknesses and then show how you improved on them.
For example “I used to find it quite difficult to organise paperwork after training sessions” – here is your weakness (note the use of used to. “However I talked to my manager at the time time and she gave me some really easy and practical tips, which has made me more efficient.” – here we have a solution.
Every weakness should start off “negative” and end with a positive solution.
8) Take your time. Don’t rush into answering questions. Ensure you understand what is being asked, and if you are not sure ask them to clarify. Always answer the question in a concise and easy to understand manner. Avoid using complex words when a “normal” word will suffice
9) Thanks the interviewer. No matter how the interview went always make sure you thank them for their time and end on a positive note with them. Remember they are probably tired from interviewing so many people so a thank you can go along way!
There is no doubt about it going for an interview can be stressful. When you are called to interview it means they are interested in finding out more about you so you want to ensure that you sell yourself and show them why you are right for the job.
It is all about what you say, how you say it and the impression you make. Make sure you become an expert at interviews by practicing a lot and doing your research.
For more information about job searching check out my kindle book on amazon which covers the search, the cover letter, the resume and the interview!