If you asked for our 3 top tips for interview success the answer would be very simple... Prepare, Prepare, Prepare!
Interviews are a two-way process. Not only is the employer assessing you, but you are assessing them too! So use the interview to glean as much information as possible.
- Read the company's website and their annual report.
- Read up on their marketplace and competition.
- Read the job description thoroughly.
- Use this information to generate informed conversation and to prepare some interesting questions to ask at interview.
- Stay off the alcohol the night before, and have a good night's sleep.
- Make sure you know EXACTLY where you are going for the interview. Allow plenty of time. Don't arrive late, but don't arrive too early either.
- Take a copy of your CV with you and don't be afraid to refer to it if you need to check dates, etc. It's worth taking a spare for the interviewer too.
- Take the job description and any other information with you. Read it en route and make a note of any questions you would like to ask.
- You may be asked to produce ID - passport or driver's licence.
- If you've been asked for any other documentation (qualification certificates, etc), remember to take them with you in a clean folder.
- Don't be afraid to take notes during the interview.
- Don't be negative about your present or past employers.
- If you are a smoker, don't smoke before-hand, however nervous you may feel. All business premises are non-smoking nowadays, and you will carry the smell of cigarettes into the interview with you - not attractive.
- Make sure you are presentable. That includes hair, teeth, shoes, fingernails. People notice the smallest things and you don't want to be remembered as the candidate with dirty fingernails.
- Turn off your mobile phone before you enter the business premises, and don't turn it back on again until you are well out of earshot.
- Stand up when you greet the interviewer and give a firm hand shake - not too limp and not too bone-crunching either.
- If you're offered a drink, stick to water. Avoid coffee and biscuits - less potential for making a mess.
- Position yourself comfortably on the chair, not on the edge. Sit up straight and stay focussed. Make lots of eye contact, but not so much that you freak out the interviewer!
- Make sure you answer the actual questions. Listen carefully, consider the question and then answer it directly and concisely. Try not to answer "yes" or "no". Expand a little, but don't waffle. If you don't know the answer, don't lie; perhaps admit that you haven't come across that before but you'd be interested in learning more about it.
- Try to establish a rapport with the interviewer but don't be over-familiar; keep it professional.
- Be nice to the receptionist and/or secretary. They play a very important role within the company and could become your greatest ally.
We could give you many more interview tips but at the end of the day, the interview is a sales pitch. You are selling yourself. If the interviewer doesn't like what they see and hear, they won't buy. It's as simple as that.
Interview preparation is key so remember our three top tips... Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
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