You want to be in a relaxed frame of mind, able to concentrate fully on the interview. Eliminate distractions. Show how focused you are on this opportunity. Be present, not just physically but mentally.
Do research: on the job, on the company, on the industry and any important issues it faces – You need to know more than the bare minimum about the role. If you’re underprepared you’ll lack the necessary confidence during the interview – and it will show.
Your potential employers will expect you to be able to talk intelligently about how you’ll do the job and deal with any challenges – maybe even develop the role yourself. If there are any major recent events in your industry show you’re interested enough to say something intelligent – but preferably not too contentious! – about these.
With everyone – Everyone who works for the company, everyone you meet when you’re there for interview, is your potential teammate. From the moment you step through the door you need to treat everyone with total respect. How you interact with the receptionist when you arrive, how you behave on a tour of the office, how you behave once the formal interview is over: all these are things your potential employer might want to find out about before making an offer.
Be confident, but not over-confident – Nobody likes a smart arse. You want this job for a variety of reasons. Your potential employer will want to give you the job if he feels you’re the best person to help drive his business forward. Coming across as arrogant or that you think you magically have all the answers before you’ve even started will set off alarm bells.
Be well presented, appropriate to the company and role – Before the interview check with your consultant at HM Staffing about appropriate dress and presentation. Although the company may allow jeans and t-shirts in the office they may expect formal dress for the interview. Whatever you’re advised to wear make sure it’s smart and clean. Your dress is one important way to signal both respect for the job and that you’ll fit naturally into its culture.
You’ve arrived at the interview, it’s your time to shine – and the temptation is to sell yourself, hard. There’s a place for this, but remember any successful interview is more an intelligent converstion than an interrogation or monologue. Show respect by listening carefully. This will also make sure you’re answering the questions you’ve actually been asked, not the ones you’ve decided you’re being asked after the first few words…
Take a brief moment to think through your answers – It’s ok to take a couple of seconds when you’re asked a challenging, thought-provoking question to show it’s provoking thoughts… No interviewer likes a candidate who is just reciting preprepared answers. Show you’re engaging with the interviewer with intelligence and integrity – and to the specifics of what she’s asking.
Try to provide specific and relevant examples – Almost every interview will include one or more questions which ask you to give an example from your professional or personal life of a challenge you’ve faced, a problem you’ve overcome, an achievement you’ve made. Don’t treat this as an invitation to show how amazing you are, but how your skills are adaptable to your new job.
Be ethical! – Many interviews will ask questions about what you would do in a tricky situation. Think about these carefully – there’s likely to be no single right answer – to show you can be trusted to act appropriately and in the best interest of your employer – and colleagues.
It’s likely none of the candidates is 100% perfect. A new job should be an opportunity for managed growth and professional development. Be confident in what you are and what you’ve achieved. If an interviewer suspects you’re making something up, they’re just more likely to probe.
Never appear disloyal to former or current employers – However much you hate your job or previous employers, never fall into the trap of being too critical about them. Try to frame any problems you have had in a more positive way: what you learnt, how you dealt with them. Your future employer won’t want to hire you if she thinks you’re going to go round badmouthing her too!
Non-verbal communication is key! – Try to appear relaxed, in control of yourself and let the interviewer be in control of the interview. Don’t take a seat until invited to. Maintain eye contact, but not in a creepy or aggressive way! Try to make eye contact with everyone on the panel. If you feel you answered a question badly (just your impression!) don’t start to panic or sink into a depression. Be the relaxed, confident person people want to work with.
Have a copy of your CV, the candidate pack and job description to hand. Make brief notes on these before the interview if these are areas you’re keen to highlight. If the interviewer asks you about something in your written application, make sure you have a copy to refer to rather than trusting to your memory in a pressured situation!
Always thank the interviewers – And reiterate your enthusiasm for the role. A successful interview is all about building up rapport. It may not feel like much fun, but conveying positivity and respect shows you’ll approach the job and your future colleagues in the right frame of mind.
Prepare sensible follow-up questions – Having a few intelligent questions about the job and the company to hand will show your genuine interest. But try to focus these on questions that can be answered in a timely and concise fashion with obvious relevance to the job.
You should be aware of the broad salary range and package on offer before attending the initial interview. The first interview is not the place to conduct negotiations, it’s the place to find out whether you and your future employer are a good match now you’re meeting face-to-face.
Get a sense of the business culture. You don’t want to accept job in a place you wont feel comfortable. An employer wont want you to accept a job offer unless you are going to committed and productive.
As soon as the interview finishes, give your consultant a ring and let them know how you think it went. They will be interested in your thoughts and feelings when they help the business decide whom to offer the job to.