During my career I have had an opportunity to attend job interviews and also conducts many. There are some fundamental things to ensure your job interview is the most successful you can make it.
have a detailed list of the interview. Make sure you know the:
- Name of Interviewer
- Correct pronunciation of the interviewer’s name
- How long the interview will be for
- General directions for the building (if you have never been there before)
Know the style of interview
Ask what form the interview will take. Is it a one on one interview, is it a panel interview with other people or is it a group assessment activity. Ask if there will be any testing involved also. Knowing the style will avoid you getting nervous and help you prepare better.
Know your transportation
If you are catching public transport allow extra time in case of delays. If you are driving also allow time to find a park and not feel rushed before the interview.
Arrive 5 – 10 minutes earlier than the appointment.
It is never acceptable to be late, it is rude and your interviewer won’t look favourably on this. The benefit of arriving early for the interview if it is in the new job location is you can check out the office and get a feel for how people are dressed and the image of the place.
Dress appropriately for the interview
Always lean towards a conservative approach with your clothes. Choose formal colours i.e. navy, grey or black. Don’t wear too much jewellery and don’t wear perfume or overbearing aftershave.
Shake hands when you meet.
Have a firm handshake and maintain eye contact while you do this. If you don’t know how to shake hands properly… learn.
Look your interviewer in the eye and they will smile back at you. Make sure you smile through the whole interview.
Be conscious of your body language
Don’t fidget and keep your hands by your sides where possible.
Use your interviewer’s name frequently during the interview.
People like the sound of their own name.
Remember to use the STAR technique when responding to questions.
Most interviewers use a competency based interview technique. Many believe your past behaviour will predict your future behaviour so they ask questions to assist them gain an understanding of you. STAR means
- S – Situation
- T – Task
- A – Action
- R – Result
When the interviewer asks you a question always try to respond the following way:
“The situation or task was …, the action I took was … and the result was..”. Don’t answer questions like “I would do this … in that situation”. Interviewers want specific answers to their questions about real situations or tasks you have been involved in.
Take notes in the interview
Let the interviewer know you will be writing down points as you discuss the role. This will help you remember details when you have left and also give you something to do with your hands to avoid fidgeting.
Use a nice pen
Don’t use a cheap pen for your job interviews. If you can’t afford a nice one, borrow one from someone. It is important to give a good impression and these small details can make an impact.
Give the interviewer your full attention when they are speaking. This will help you answer their questions appropriately and show them you are interested in what they are saying.
Research the company before the interview
Review their details on the Internet, get a copy of a company report or ask others what they know about the company. This will help you appear educated about the company and help you create some questions about the business.
Know the content of your resume well
Be aware of all the positions you had, the achievements for each role and timeframes in each role. Be confident when talking about each section of your resume.
Have a spare copy of your resume for the interviewer
Always carry a copy with you to hand to them.
Don’t use coloured or plastic folders for your resume
Present a stapled white paper resume. When there are several applicants for a job the pile of plastic folders can be annoying to an interviewer.
Use positive language in the interview
Use words like “When I am in the role” and “When I start the job” and “When I begin working with you”. Act as if you have already got the job. Talk to the interviewer in very positive language.
Go prepared with questions to ask at the end of the interview
If they ask if you have any questions… you always do.
You could ask questions like:
- When will I be notified I am successful for the job?
- When will I start this new job?
- How many people would I be working with?
- What floor would I be located on?
- What is the dress standard here?
These questions will allow you to spend more time with the interviewer and also they will know you came prepared to the interview.
Remember you are also interviewing them
This is not just about them checking you out. You need to spend time asking questions and getting a feel for the company to determine if you would also like to work there. Make sure you leave with an understanding of wether this is somewhere you would like to work.
Send a thank you note to the interviewer.
When you leave the office take a few minutes to write them an hand written note to thank them for their time and post it the same day. This will leave a good impression and make an impact on your interviewer. This will make you stand out from the other people interviewed that day.
Make an impression, be memorable and be calm.
You can have a successful interview when you are well prepared, be confident and act appropriately. Good luck.
Neen James, MBA CSP, is the President/CEO of Neen James Communications, LLC. An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, Neen delivers engaging keynotes that have educated, and entertained audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life. Neen also provides one-on-one consulting and mentoring to women on a variety of business issues and topics. To find out more about Neen, visit her at http://www.neenjames.com/.