In today’s highly competitive job market, landing a face to face interview is an opportunity you need to take full advantage of. It’s a chance to impress, highlight your suitability for the role, and sell your skills – but as a result, it also comes with a lot of pressure! Here are some of the best tried and tested techniques for making the best impression possible.
Practice and prepare
If you’ve ever been part of a school production or play, you’ll know that a well-rehearsed performance always goes more smoothly! Taking part in a job interview is no different. Makes sure you know what the company does, what they would require of you, and anticipate the kind of questions they might ask you.
If you’re a nervous interviewee, it can help to practice with a friend who can throw some more unexpected questions at you too. Under reduced pressure, you’ll be able to come up with clever ways you can work some of your biggest selling points into a variety of different questions, and get some helpful feedback too.
Use the job description to your advantage
Your biggest cheat sheet for acing an interview is the original job advert, description or spec that you replied to in the first place. It’s literally a list of everything they’re looking for – so make sure you practice answers that make it clear you tick all of their boxes!
Quantify your achievements with previous employers
Talking about what duties you performed during previous roles is great – but actually being able to quote stats and numbers is way more impressive. If there were any initiatives where you managed to make a measurable difference to the company’s bottom line, even if it’s only minor, being able to give figures shows that you have a good business head on your shoulders, and that you care about delivering results. This is especially important in technical or numbers-oriented positions, such as when you’re interviewing at financial or engineering recruitment agencies.
Even if you can’t quote exact figures, make a list of any and all achievements at your previous roles. There’s a good chance that at least a few of them can be worked naturally into whatever you’re discussing, or form part of the standard questions you’d expect.
Be mindful of your body language
Projecting an aura of enthusiasm and cheerfulness is one of the best ways to make a good first impression. Remember that interviewers can get nervous too sometimes! Greet them with a smile and a warm handshake and make eye contact. During the interview, make sure you’re speaking slowly and clearly – especially if you have a tendency to mumble. Confidence is one of those things where you really can ‘fake it ‘til you make it’, so practice beforehand even it seems silly at the time. Making sure your posture is good during the interview gives the impression that you’re serious about the role. Of course, you don’t want to look stiff and stilted, so if this is a concern for you get some honest feedback from a trusted friend!
Make sure you have plenty of time to get there
Arriving flustered and out of breath because you battled to find the premises is bound to get the entire interview off to a bad start. If you know you’re bad with directions or are unfamiliar with the part of town where the interview is taking place, it can be massively helpful to scout the location beforehand. Even if you arrive way too early and have to wait in your car for an hour, it’s better than the alternative! As an added bonus, you’ll have some extra time to prepare yourself mentally, and if there are any unexpected delays along the way you’ll still be there on time.
Have your own questions ready
At some point, most interviewers will ask you if you have any questions for them. Make sure to prepare some thoughtful ones so you don’t have to hum and haw when they ask you.
Wear clothes that are professional but not uncomfortable
Wearing brand new clothes is one thing, but if you’re going to be squirming, fiddling with, and adjusting your clothing throughout the interview you’re going to detract from yourself. As long as your look is polished and tidy, don’t feel you need to sacrifice comfort too much.
After the interview
Always make sure to drop the interviewer a brief thank you for their time. You can also use the opportunity to mention any pertinent details that slipped your mind during the interview!
Interviews can be daunting, but there’s a lot you can do to prepare yourself – and thankfully, that’s completely under your control.