If you think your qualifications are enough to get you through an interview, you’re wrong. What will? Read on.
First impressions really do count
Interviewers usually decide whether they want to hire a person or not within the first two minutes. That’s as ‘short’ as it takes, which is why in your image, qualities such as professionalism, confidence, and preparedness should be clearly discernible.
First, what you wear should reflect the company’s dress code. This reflects familiarity with at least one aspect of the company. Second, look professional by keeping your look neutral, avoiding fancy patterns, bold colours, or anything that makes a personal statement. You could never go wrong with a dark suit, white shirt, and burgundy tie. Third, regardless of the outfit, make sure your look is a clean, fresh, and smart. Untidy hair, tired-looking skin, clothes in the wrong fit, and dirty shoes will not help you.
I also recommend avoiding any strong fragrances. Fragrances are very personal not only in terms of preference but also associations.
Know what you’re applying for
Showing you’ve done your research about the company’s activities, values, and history will send a clear message you’re serious about this post and that you see yourself working there.
Know what the job is about and how you’re suitable for it. Doing your research properly enables you to stand out from the other candidates by giving answers that are personalised and relevant. Being in need of an income should never be the only reason for applying. That’s what those ‘Why do you want this job?’ and ‘Why should we employ you?’ questions are about. They enable interviewers to distinguish those who really care about that specific post from those who are merely after a job.
Confidence is key to succeeding in a job interview. It enables you to actually understand the questions asked, give pertinent answers, and interact with the panel. More importantly, it helps you keep focused and in control of your behaviour. Of course it’s not easy to just believe in yourself but a firm hand-shake, eye-contact, upright posture, and lack of fidgeting will make you look more relaxed.
Always prepare your reply to ‘Tell me about yourself’ and ‘Why do you want this job?’. Either one is more than likely to be the first question asked. Get that right and you’ll immediately get the feeling it’s going well. Get stuck on the first question and you’ll end up in panic mode.
Focus on speaking clearly and making it sound sincere. Also make sure you emphasise the experience and qualifications that are most relevant to the post. No one really cares about your cooking skills when applying for a job outside catering.
At the same time, don’t overdo it by coming across as too confident. It is always important to show that you are more than happy to keep learning and most importantly, you know your place in the hierarchy. Not interrupting the interviewer when speaking, acknowledging their remarks, and stating that your achievements were the result of hard work but also support from and collaboration (direct or indirect) with others will give you a pleasant outlook and an air of sincerity.
Ultimately, what any candidate must keep in mind is that they are just one amongst many vying for that post. Interviewing people is boring, not to mention tiring. If you want to succeed, make it worthwhile for the interviewer/s – don’t waste anyone’s time.
Are there any other tips you’d like to share?