Congratulations, you made the interview. But you still need to go out there and clinch the job. Follow our ten tips to impress at your interview and you’ll be the one they’ll remember after seeing 20+ interviewees.
1. Print off the job description and take a copy of your CV and/or application with you to the interview
Seeing the job description in print forces you to be analytical about how you meet the job requirements. Before the interview, make notes and match your job experience, skills and knowledge against the person specification.
On your interview day, take the job description (with your notes on it), your CV (or application form, if you filled one in) to the interview. They can serve as reference points for you when you’re being interviewed.
2. Research the company
Find out as much as you can about the company by going to its website, reading the company reports and the latest industry news.
Make notes and ask questions at your interview that show that you have done your research.
3. Practise your interview questions
When they ask you to ‘tell us about yourself’, they’re not asking for details of everything you’ve done from the minute you were born to your interview date.
Talk the interviewer – briefly – through your CV. Emphasise the skills and knowledge you’ve acquired from each job and how they meet the requirements of the job you’re interviewing for.
4. Dress to impress
Keep it formal, even if the company you’re interviewing for is the hippest, trendiest in the industry. It makes you look professional and competent.
It goes without saying that your appearance should also be tidy and well groomed. A grimy collar is not a good look.
5. Try wearing smart glasses
Research has borne it out time and time again that glasses-wearers look intelligent and competent. Choose a simple pair of glasses – black is a good option. They can even be used as a prop – if appropriate, take them off and lean forward to make a point, but be careful not to come across as though you are telling off your interviewer, or being too pushy. Best to do it with a smile while saying something like “You know, you are right, that is a very good point” or words to that effect.
Don’t overdo it though, as the last thing you want is to poke out the eye of the interviewer. And definitely DON’T chew the ends of the earpieces if you do take the glasses off.
6. Don’t be too specific about money
Salary questions are always tricky, so keep your answers as brief as possible. If the interview was arranged by an agency, say that you’ll leave the salary negotiation to your agency.
If the interview was arranged between you and the company, then say that your salary expectations are in line with the industry standard.
7. Keep your answers focused on how you meet the job specification
Keep your answers focused. You’re here to be interviewed about a job, so everything you say should be tailored to that.
8. Be positive about your previous employers
Your last employers may have been the worst employers in the world but, as far as your interviewers are concerned, they were Nelson Mandela incarnate.
Keep it positive: the company was going through a restructure and you decided to use the opportunity to seek new challenges in your career.
9. Sit up straight
Good posture is extremely important. Slouching denotes a lazy manner. There is also a psychological benefit to sitting up straight; you tend to speak more clearly and confidently.
10. Smile and relax – but not too much
Nothing gladdens the heart like a smile, but smile too much and you’ll end up freaking out your interviewers. So smile – but not too much.
Try to relax; you’ll be able to sell yourself much easier if you are relaxed rather than a quivering nervous wreck. People who are nervous tend to talk too much and mix up their words. Try not to think of it as an important job interview but as a friendly (but formal) chat.
Make them need you more than you need the job… There are plenty of other companies out there that would love to employ your skills.
Follow these tips and you’ll do all right in your job interview.
Michael is the web content manager for a leading online retailer of prescription glasses and sunglasses at Select Specs.