Occasionally, charisma alone can get you through an interview successfully. But for most of us, careful preparation is the key.
This guide helps you to get the basics right.
Follow the instructions
First and foremost, check your email confirming the interview and do exactly what they’ve asked. If they want to see your passport, don’t just bring a photocopy. And if they’ve asked for a presentation, prepare it well in advance and check how best to send it to them.
Don’t fall at the first hurdle.
Test the route
Remarkably, recruiters suggest that thousands of candidates still regularly arrive late for interviews.
Frankly, you won’t have much chance if you’re late.
Phoning well ahead might help, but avoid any problems by testing the route in advance and allow for delays. Besides, being early is a good thing – time for a coffee or to freshen up after the commute.
Research the business
Another problem interviewers regularly moan about is candidates’ lack of knowledge about their business.
You don’t need to spend a huge amount of time studying them, but you do need a solid understanding of what they do, their size, their values and their aims.
And the key is making sure you collect up-to-date information – following them on social media will help with that.
Be nice to everyone, not just the interviewer
Be polite and friendly with the receptionist and everyone you come across, because your interviewer may ask other people what they thought of you. Try to think of your interview beginning the second you arrive at their premises.
Think about your body language
Because candidates tend to focus on the questions they might be asked, it’s easy to forget about what’s being communicated physically.
Don’t overthink it, but do try to remember the following:
- Eye contact is important, but it has to be natural – try not to stare
- Sit upright – slouching conveys negative character traits
- Don’t fidget
- Relax – the more relaxed you are, the better your answers will be.
It’s an obvious but essential point to make – enthusiasm makes a big difference. Your interviewer is passionate about their business, and passionate about the role on offer.
If you can’t get excited about what they do and what they’re offering, you’ll struggle to make a lasting impression.
Don’t plan too many answers
It’s worth going over your skills and experience in your mind – how your ability has developed, and some of the key achievements in your career. But planning answers to specific questions is risky. It’s impossible to know exactly what will be asked, and your answers will be difficult to memorise.
Too much rehearsal leads to stiff and nervous answers. Talk confidently and naturally, rather than as if you’re recalling a script.