Interview Preparation – 10 Basic Reminders
Job search techniques change, the market changes and job descriptions too – but what stays constant is the importance of job interview performance: your chance to sell yourself to a new employer. The first 30 seconds of a job interview are the most important, so if you want to be a cut above the rest you need to be on the ball. At BlackCode, we maintain that an interview is all about the ‘three Ps’.
“You need to prepare, you need to practice, and then, perform.”
Greet your interviewer with a smile and firm handshake. Give eye contact. Try to make small talk during the walk from the reception area to the interview room. You have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else, and the first 30 seconds are when the interviewer subconsciously makes decisions about whether you will fit into the team.
Re-read your CV and the job description just before the interview. Do your research thoroughly: look at the company web site or obtain literature, use LinkedIn to look at the interviewer’s background. Prepare any examples you believe may be relevant to them and the role.
Answer questions properly and concisely – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. It is better to say that you need a minute to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards. Not sure if you have answered the question? Stay concise and then check back: “would you like me to carry on?” Better to ask than to be lengthy on and go off at a tangent – a very commonly made mistake!
Most job adverts will list qualities they’re looking for: a team worker, a good communicator… So it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can relate to the company and job on offer.
Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you talking negatively about your boss or current colleagues. Interviewers like to see someone who enjoys a challenge and is enthusiastic.
It is not what you say, but how you say it. During the interview, do not fold your arms and lean back or look to the floor! Sit upright and try to maintain good eye contact. Use your hands and lean forward when making a point – stay engaged. Many people cannot think and control their body language at the same time, which is why it’s important to prepare.
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. A survey by OfficeAngels has revealed that 90% of employers ask ‘killer’ questions in interviews. It is impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your colleagues describe you?”, but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary but do not evade it.
Show energy, a sense of humour and smile: It’s infectious, being positive and enthusiastic. Ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any challenges that they and the business may be facing.
If you are not certain what is meant by a particular question, ask them for clarification. At the end, ask the interviewer if there is anything else that he or she would like to know, anything that was not covered off by you or that needs elaborating on. Do not be afraid to ask if they have any reservations and when you are likely to hear if you have been successful or not.
It is better to choose than to be chosen. Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Follow it up by sending a “thank-you” e-mail or message, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to detail the key advantages you feel you would bring.