We all know from experience that interviews can be extremely stressful but trying to follow some of the following tips can help you get through an interview and still project the value that you could bring to the role you are applying for.
Key interview techniques
- Arrive 10 minutes prior to your interview. Punctuality sets the tone for the sort of person you would like your employer to see in you.
- Business attire is a must!! Presentable and business attire will not only demonstrate your eagerness to impress but your interest in the position.
- On introduction to your Interviewer smile, keep eye contact and shake hands firmly. The first 10 seconds make a lasting impression so make the effort.
- Maintain an appropriate amount of eye contact with the interviewer. If you start looking away and anywhere but the interviewer you’ll be sending the wrong signals. You are interested in the job you are going for otherwise you wouldn’t be there so let the interviewer see that.
- Body language is important. Always sit up straight and don’t lay back in your chair like it’s Sunday afternoon after a big hearty lunch. Don’t cross your arms as this creates a metaphorical barrier between yourself and the interviewer.
- Make notes in your interview. If you learn or hear something interesting ask if it’s OK to make notes. This not only demonstrates your level of interest but helps you retain information from your interview in preparation for a second should you be called back.
- Talk clearly and slowly.. You may well be nervous but you should try to pace your answers so the interviewer can understand them. Don’t rush an answer when you are asked a question. Think before you speak.
- Listen to the questions. The worst thing you can do is to interrupt or talk over the interviewer. This is not only rude but will work against you. The interviewer needs to feel that what they are saying is important to you.
- Be prepared to talk about the company and the position you’re interviewing for. You should have done some homework on the company you are interviewing for so be prepared to show that in your answers where you can draw positive comparisons on your skills to areas within the company or their goals. Showing an understanding of the industry and sector the company operates in can also boost your scoring in an interview.
- Open up and be thorough and give examples. However, keep your answers on track and to-the-point, especially when you’re relating experiences to core competencies. Time is almost always a factor in an interview so contain your comments and prevent yourself waffling or going off subject.
- Ask insightful questions. If you have a question but the conversation moves to another topic, try to address it at the end of the interview. Most often or not an interviewer will ask if you have any questions at the end of the interview and a few insightful questions at this point will help with their perception of you.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. Especially weaknesses, we all have them! Don’t try and blag your way through an interview. Honesty is the key but where you know something is your weakness turn this into a goal that you are looking to achieve within this role you are interviewing for.
- Show you’ve done your research. Mention the facts you’ve discovered.
- Selling yourself and your skills. Don’t brag and blow your own trumpet but highlight areas where you have helped to achieve or done so single-handedly something that has benefited your previous employer. Illustrate the skills you used and in some cases learned from the situation. Sometimes highlighting a situation that did not go well, to begin with, but helped you and your team learn and develop your abilities to respond to those requirements when they were encountered again.
- Questions. If you still have some questions, be ready to ask them at the end of the interview. You should also be ready for some on the spot scenario questions at the end. Some interviewers may want to test your responses under pressure for rational responses to real day-to-day issues they would encounter under similar levels of pressure.
- Finishing the interview. As you did at the start shake your interviewer’s hand firmly and thank them for their time to see you. Often or not they will have taken time out of busy days to fit in interviews so some recognition of that will show your appreciation.
Practicing for a job interview
If you have a close friend or family member you can try out your responses with to some key topics related to your skills and the requirements of the role you are applying for this may help you overcome some nervous responses.
For some interviews, you may be asked to make a short presentation to the interview panel. If so and there is a time limit attached to it make sure you practice the presentation with a timer and where possible ask a friend or family member to listen to it.