Top tips for successful job interviews
After a couple of decades in the corporate world, including as a recruiter, it's no surprise to me any longer about how many people are simply unprepared for the interviews they attend and lack the skills for really selling themselves and many seem to wing it on the day. The reality is though, that many of the things that candidates do 'wrong' can be easily rectified and they will then stand out from the crowd easily. Fresh and inspired by a recent set of interview coaching sessions, here are my key pointers:
1) Prepare - Prepare - Prepare!
It's seems like a no-brainer (and it should be) but too many candidates simply don't prepare. It is a requirement to know about who you are interviewing with, what the company does and what the job role is. Candidates who say 'well I was hoping you would tell me' without offering their perspective of the job/company/role, have already dug themselves a hole. These are the key things you need to prepare: who the company are, what they do and why, who are their competitors, why you find them of interest, how long have they been going, what do they sell, what's new, if you can (and Linkedin is good for this) who the team/manager is and their background, what the role requires and why you are good for it... this is just for starters...
2) Punctuality and politeness
Be prepared. Know how you're going to get there and how long it's going to take. Factor some time in for delays. Respect the people who are interviewing you. Turn up on time otherwise they will think you will be just as slack when doing the job. What's more, be fresh for the interview. Really, for your own sake, don't go clubbing the night before. It doesn't go down well - and you won't perform well. Don't bring your takeaway coffee into the interview room and turn that phone off. Focus on the game at hand to give yourself the best chance possible.
3) Know what you want and what you are looking for
You are interviewing the company too. You need to know what you need from a job role and how this will suit you - over-and-above the tantilising salary and benefits. You need to know that it will meet your needs otherwise you will be unhappy, unmotivated and struggle to achieve success. Prepare questions, find out more about the role and it then gives you more of an opportunity to be able to express to the employer why you are the best person for the job.
4) Dress for the job
Make sure you are suited and booted and looking your best. You need to stand out from the other candidates.
5) Eye contact and body language
Maintain eye contact, smile and breathe! Breathing helps you relax and helps you give the impression of confidence. Looking down, averting eye contact, crossing your arms or moving your body language away from the interviewer and mumbling will give negative connotations and you won't create a connection. If you aren't sure about your body language ask a friend, family member or coach to work with you, practising your interview style - perhaps video it so you can see what you're doing. Remember, practice makes perfect.
6) Research interview questions - general
Interviewers will also pose more generalised questions designed to elicit what you would do in given situations, e.g. if one of your customers is very demanding, can you give me an example of how you would deal with this. Think about the demands of the role you are applying for and what situations you might be confronted with e.g. targets, demanding team members, customers, crises etc.