We have looked at Preparation for your Job Interview and now it’s time. Your interview is today! Here’s what you need to do for a successful outcome:
Don’t be late
It sounds obvious but so many candidates arrive late because they underestimate traffic etc. Whatever the excuse is, lateness creates the wrong first impression and you will probably be flustered throughout the interview worrying rather than focusing on your responses to the questions asked.
The first few minutes of your interview are critical when there is non-verbal communication. Compose yourself, take in the environment, gauge the mood, listen and observe. Read the situation and mirror the interviewer. If he/she is very formal, then you should be too. And if they are quite casual, take a similar approach but don’t come across as over-familiar – particularly at the start of the interview.
Get their attention
Does it feel like you’re the tenth candidate they’ve met today?! If so, you need to uplift the interview and instil new energy. Good eye contact and a warm smile will give you a good start. Sit appropriately – generally upright but lean forward occasionally to engage and show interest. Don’t slump in your chair as this will disengage and make you seem aloof and/or arrogant.
Let the interviewer lead the conversation
There’s likely to be small talk at the beginning which will help break the ice for you and the employer. Go with it and engage but don’t get carried away! Know when to stop so they can move on to the actual interview questions.
Answer the questions
When candidates are nervous it’s easy to go off on a tangent and ramble. Engage with the interviewer and take in the body language. Are they listening to you? Or are they just looking through you? If you are losing them, STOP! That will get their attention and you can then pull the interviewer back into the conversation and provide more snappy answers. Show passion, enthusiasm and humility. Frame your answers as if you would be working for them so that the employer can envisage what it would be like to have you on board. And if the interviewer asks a difficult question that you don’t know the answer to, it’s much better to say “I don’t know, that’s something I would like to find out” than trying to wing it with a poor answer. Honesty is always best.
Ask intelligent questions
Depending on the formality, it may be appropriate to ask questions during the interview, but generally your questions should come towards the end. Usually the interviewer will offer you this opportunity. Make sure your questions will contribute to your performance. Asking about company growth, future plans, scope of the job clearly demonstrates your interest level in joining the employer for the foreseeable future. Don’t ask unimaginative questions where you could have easily found out the answers. And in a first interview situation, don’t ask for micro details about the job – It’s not very relevant at this stage and it may suggest that you are concerned about whether the job is right for you – or whether you can actually do the job!
Likeability is key to a positive outcome. Let your personality shine through so that the employer likes you and wants you. Too many candidates go into an interview with the attitude of “What’s in it for me?” (ie why should I work for you?) which creates a bad aura from the start and then they wonder why they weren’t invited for a second interview! Employers want to hire ‘can-do’ people with a positive attitude. In regards to salary, you should know roughly what the package is before going into an interview so that it meets your expectation but don’t ask about this or holidays or hours of work in your interview. Of course this information is important to you but it can be discussed at a much later stage in the process when you know they are keen to hire you.
Keep the door open
Always be courteous, however the interview has gone. You never know where this could lead you, even if this particular job is not for you.
First impressions count – and so do last impressions! Make sure you ‘close’ the interview positively. Thank the interviewer and let them know that you are very interested. And don’t be afraid to ask what the next steps might be. When you get home, send a short ‘thank you’ email. If you were the tenth candidate interviewed that day, you want to make sure you are remembered!