You’re in the door! This is your one chance to show your prospective employer that you are everything written in your CV – and more.
Research the company thoroughly and their competitors. The interviewer will want to get an idea of how much you truly know about your field and them specifically. You will have to demonstrate effectively that you know not just them, but also what is happening in the industry as a whole. It’s always a good idea to have a piece of news that has not yet been widely publicised. Keep your ears to the ground and come up with a gem.
Not all industries require you to wear suits but at interview stage it is a good idea to make the best impression possible. That means ensuring that you are dressed smartly from head to toe. Poorly applied make-up, shaving cuts and unkempt hair are a big turn-off, as are inappropriately fashionable items such as nose piercings or large sunglasses.
Be on time! Turning up late will give the interviewer the idea that you are not that interested in the role and have poor time management skills. If you know you are going to be late due to an unforeseeable accident en route, call and give a realistic new time of arrival. An employer will always appreciate honesty, even if it does inconvenience them.
Be polite! Always be courteous and gracious to everyone you come into contact with, from the receptionist to the interviewer; you may be working with them after all so start as you mean to go on. Over-familiarity, negativity and rudeness will not be tolerated.
Do not fidget! Playing with jewellery, touching hair and tapping feet need to be restrained. Of course you will be nervous but these ticks may show you as someone who is not confident or in control of a situation. How would you behave at a board meeting, or presenting to customers?
Listen! Listening is a skill that has to be learned. If you are asked to give an example of where you effectively changed procedures to improve profitability, then come up with a real scenario of where YOU influenced this change and what the results were. An employer needs to know that given a specific, verbal brief you will be able to manage a project without having to ask for further instructions and that you have understood what you were asked to do.
All jobs require some flexibility, whether it’s the amount of hours you are required to work, where you are located or the job role itself. It is important to let the interviewer know that you can adapt to any given situation – take on extra responsibility, work at different company locations, or work late if required. Your job is not your life but there may be times when it is crucial to the business that you are available and can be relied upon.
Interviews do not only give the employer an opportunity to delve into your career history but they afford you the chance to ask questions of them i.e. what’s the future of the company, are they planning to expand into other areas, how many people would you be directly working with, what’s the company culture, etc. It’s a good idea to write down a few and be prepared to ask when prompted. If they have already covered the questions you were going to ask, you can always go back to a point raised earlier in the interview that you may have wanted clarification on.
One definite no-no is talking about salaries. This is something that the interviewer will discuss with you at the appropriate time. It is likely that the salary range will have been included in the job description so it would not be acceptable to discuss this at interview stage.