I don’t think I’ve ever heard any candidate or job seeker telling me that they love attending interviews. While they can be daunting, just following some basic preparatory steps can help relieve the stress and ensure a really successful interview.
It goes without saying, but first impressions count! Cover off the basics of dressing appropriately and presenting yourself in a clean and tidy fashion. Don’t overlook cleaning your shoes and fingernails! Beyond cleanliness, a great first impression also includes entering the room with a smile, being polite and making eye contact with your interviewer(s).
A sure-fire way to get your nerves jangling is something unexpected interrupting your plans. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the interview and always make sure your phone ringer is on silent. If you have alarms or reminders that might sound, make sure you have silenced those too. Should you find yourself running early, although it’s tempting, don’t enter the company’s premises too prematurely. I suggest arriving 5 minutes before your interview time, which shows you are both punctual and respectful of their time.
Research the role.
Research the role before you attend the interview. If you have a position description or selection criteria, study them. You want to make sure you have a real understanding of the position you’re interviewing for, which will help you anticipate some of the questions that may come your way. Think about how your skills align with the position and prepare some specific examples of how you have demonstrated these in the past.
Research the company.
I’m quite often amazed at how many job seekers don’t do their homework on the company they are so keen to work for. Being prepared to answer the question, “So what do you know about us?” with at least some basic knowledge of the organisation demonstrates how keenly interested you are in working there. Let the interviewer know you have looked over their website and read their blogs. If your research prompts questions, don’t shy away from asking them, again it will demonstrate your genuine interest in their business.
When it comes to questions, make sure you prepare and write down your questions to ask beforehand. At some point the interviewer will usually invite you to ask any questions you may have. Get your pre-prepared notes out and look through them. This demonstrates that you are serious about the role and have invested time and effort in preparing to meet with them. If all your questions about the role have been addressed during the course of the interview, ask them about the next steps in their hiring process.
Make your last impressions count.
To conclude, thank the interviewer(s) for their time, shake hands and tell them you look forward to hearing from them. You may want to follow up with a brief email a few hours later to confirm your interest in the role. This will demonstrate your enthusiasm for the role.
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