TOP 10 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW
By Tricia Scott
Ah, the dreaded interview scenario. We’ve all been there but just because they are quite frankly awkward as arse doesn’t mean they have to a disaster. Yes, you’ll likely be nervous but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nerves are a sign that you want it and that means it’s totally worth putting yourself out for, but how do you manage to get your amazing personality across while remaining professional and friendly and showing them that their organisation would be a better pace to be with you on board?
We’ve put together a list of our top ten interview tips for you to help you on the big day.
Plan ahead and do your research
This is super important. I have interviewed lots and lots of candidates over the years and one of the first things I always looked for was, what do they know about us? I want to see that the person I’m interviewing cares enough to have at least scanned over our website and learned a little bit about what we do and our company ethos before the come to the interview. You don’t need to know chapter and verse but being able to show that you were interested enough in the job to do some reading beforehand goes a long way. Read over the job description and match your skills to what the company are asking for, practise how you can bring your skillet to the job and it’ll stop you from rambling later when you stand a chance to be nervous. Also, plan your journey ahead and aim to arrive at least five minutes early. If you’re running late, and sometimes its unavoidable, make sure you have the company number to hand a give them as much notice as you can.
2. Know your CV inside out
You should know your CV like the back of your (immaculately manicured) hand. Chances are a potential employer will have read through your previous experience and want to know more. Make sure you’re prepared and for the love of all that is employable make sure it’s up to date! You’re most relevant and recent experience should all be on the document and you should be able to talk through and discuss what you’ve done before.
3. Check your non-verbal game
Interviews are as much about what you don’t say as what you do. What is your body language saying to the person sitting across from you? Consider your posture, as you siting straight? Sit comfortably (the poker straight, rigid look is just plain uncomfortable for all concerned) but make sure your posture is one of confidence, use good eye contact and a firm handshake and remember to smile! This is not meant to be a torturous experience! You want to show them that you’ll be professional and friendly to work with on a daily basis.
4. Dress appropriately
Smart is always the name of the game for interviews but do consider the company culture and the position you’ve applied for. It doesn’t always have to be a suit but a well-groomed appearance never goes wrong. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune either. Consider statement jewellery to show your personality or some great accessories. It’s amazing what you can do with a simple outfit just by adding colours, different scarves etc. Our resident fashion expert Nichola English, The Wardrobe Provocateur talks more about this very thing here.
5. Listen up
Listening is a key skill in business (and in life). Right from the start of your interview, you are being given information so be sure to not only listen but to actually hear what’s being said to you. Being able to demonstrate that you’ve taken the information in, by repeating it later in the interview, shows that you are an effective communicator. Stay interested and don’t feel pressured to answer everything quickly, it’s totally ok, and often preferable, to think through your answers and respond thoughtfully.
6. Ask questions
Most interviewers will, at some point, ask if you have any questions for them and in my experience 9 out of 10 candidates will say no. Don’t be that person. Remember, an interview is a two-way street. It’s as much to see if you want to be part of what they’re offering as it is about if they want to employ you. Asking relevant questions shows that you’re interested in the company, especially if you ask questions about something you’ve been told during the interview. Besides, you need to know about the company. Is this somewhere you can see yourself working daily? What do you need to know? Consider some questions you might want to ask before you get there, you may find that they are answered naturally during the course of the conversation but be prepared and show genuine interest, you can’t go far wrong.
7. Give Examples
It’s all well and good to tell an employer of your skills and expertise but it’s better to be able to give examples. Can you give a story of something you’ve done that shows a skill they are looking for? Do you have accomplishments you can share? Don’t leave it up to the imagination and be prepared.
8. Don’t get hung up on qualifications
It’s not all about the pieces of paper and It’s important not to get too caught up in thinking that there’s all there is to it. Often the applicant who is hired isn’t the best on paper, they’re the best in person. Experience, transferable skills and personality go a long way with potential employers, remember, people buy from people and the company want to know that the person they hire will fit into their workforce, fulfil their business needs and solve a particular problem. Don’t be intimidated, think about the interview process as a sales call and sell all the best bits of your resumé.
9. Always be yourself
‘The door to success swings inwards’ have you heard that before? It’s so true. No matter how much you want the job if it’s not right for you then you won’t be happy there. Listen to your gut. When in conversation with the interviewer aim for authenticity every time, stay upbeat and let your confidence show through. Respond truthfully to the questions you are asked and by staying true to yourself you give the employer a chance to see the real person, a lack of authenticity can be spotted from 100 feet away.
10. Follow up & reflection
So, you’ve had the interview, you’ve met the team and you’ve decided that you would really like the job. What else can you do to gain the attention of the potential employer? Follow it up. Send a thank you email to the person who interviewed you, keep it simple and just thank them for their time. Don’t leave it a few days, do it while you are still prominent in their memory. By doing this small act you are likely to be in the 1% of candidates who actually bothered and therefore that much more memorable.
So, there it is, our top 10 favourite tips for interview success. Practise these and you’re sure to be on you way to landing that perfect job. Remember though, even if you don’t get it this time it’s’ not the end of the world. Look upon it as practise, often what feels like failure is just the universe redirecting us to something better.
Good luck CEO’s, as always, I believe in you,