The best interview advice we can offer is to prepare for it. This may sound obvious, but too many applicants walk into an interview without knowing as much as they should about the industry, the company and its problems. You are there to solve a problem. Otherwise, the company wouldn't be hiring.
Know the company:
Find out as much as you can about the position, the company and its needs, so you can show how your background meets those needs. You can gather information by reading the company's website and researching any articles that appear relevant to the firm.
Mentally review the skills and character traits you have that will help the company's bottom line. Think in terms of the value you can add to the position and the company.
Know your job history:
Review your past achievements and be prepared to describe your work experience in detail. Gather letters of reference and samples of your work to present to the interviewer as proof of your past accomplishments. Practice describing your experience in terms of your responsibilities and achievements at each job.
Know the questions:
You can almost bet on being asked: "Tell me about yourself?". Approach this from the employer's point of view. Ask yourself, "If I were hiring someone for this position, what would I want to know?" Then answer those questions. And be ready for tough questions too. Think of the hardest questions you could be asked about your experience and abilities, then prepare positive responses.
Prepare questions of your own:
Employers are as interested in your questions as they are in your answers. And they'll react favourably if you ask intelligent questions about the position, the company and the industry. (Examples: Where does this position fit into the company as a whole? Is there any problem with this job with waste/accuracy/meeting quotas, etc.? What is the most significant problem facing your staff now?)
Get the big picture:
Visualise the entire interview, from start to finish. See yourself as performing with style and confidence. How will the interview end? Will you get a job offer or be called back for a second interview?
Make a Good First Impression:
The outcome of the interview will depend largely on the impression you make during the first five minutes. To succeed, you must project a professional, competent and enthusiastic image. Your aim is to convince the interviewer that you would be an asset to the company.
Do whatever it takes to arrive a few minutes early. If necessary, drive to the company the night before and time yourself. Allow extra time for traffic, parking and slow elevators.
Your clothing should be appropriate for the position you're seeking. Attire must be appropriate and be immaculate. If you don't know what the typical attire at the company is, call and ask your consultant. Shoes should be polished; pants/skirts and shirts pressed.
Clean hair and fingernails are essential. Hair should be styled conservatively and avoid excessive make-up, jewellery or cologne.
A firm handshake is appropriate and projects confidence, make eye contact when you shake.
Send the right message by standing straight, moving confidently, and sitting slightly forward in your chair.
Have your agenda and know where the interview should be heading. This will give you confidence and help you move from one area of questioning to the next. Remember, most interviewers are as uncomfortable as you are and want the position filled as fast as possible. If you can put the interviewer at ease by helping things move smoothly, you'll improve your chances of being hired.
Enthusiasm and eye contact:
Show your enthusiasm by making eye contact and keeping a curious expression. Nod and gesture in moderation; excessive body movement can distract and annoy the interviewer. Listen carefully and ask questions to probe deeper into what the interviewer is telling you. Most interviewers are delightfully surprised by a question such as, "How could I help you solve the problem you've just described?".
Good grammar and articulate speech are essential. If this is an area where you're weak, work on it. Practice on your family, practice in front of a mirror, record your voice, take classes - do whatever it takes to become a more effective communicator.
Negative statements about previous jobs or employers:
Never make them. Instead, be diplomatic. No matter how bad your last job or boss was, there's probably something useful you learned from the experience. Emphasise the positive - with a smile.
This is a crucial and often-overlooked final step in the interviewing process. At the end of the interview, thank everybody for his or her time. Once you are away from the interview venue, call your consultant with feedback on the interview. Good detailed feedback can often help your consultant secure you a second interview or job offer.
Please do not hesitate to speak to our consultants if you need any further interview advice.