Filling out the job application and sending your resume is the easy part. Now it’s time for the face-to-face portion of the application process; the interview. This is the point of the process where it’s up to the candidate to make a positive, lasting impression on the employer. Once you have the interview, the ball is in your court and you have to be very careful to play it well.
First impressions are everything in an interview. You should greet your interviewer with a warm smile and firm handshake. Make eye contact and make small talk with them on the way to the interview room. In the first thirty seconds of meeting you, an interviewer will have subconsciously decided whether they like you or not.
Put a lot of care into how you look on the day of the interview. This is not the time to try out a new hairstyle, however getting a trim a week before is a good idea. Dress comfortably and conservatively. A good rule of thumb is to dress one level up from what you would wear to work. Being clean and neat is of the utmost importance. Plan your outfit ahead of time so you don’t have to rush at the last-minute.
Do not lean back, fold your arms or look at the floor. Maintain good eye contact with the interviewer at all times and sit up straight. Use your hands to add character to your conversation and lean forward when you’re making a point. This body language is seen as positive and confident.
The person interviewing you is potentially your future colleague. They are going to be thinking about what it will be like to work with you, so keep that in mind. Speak to your strengths, be enthusiastic and don’t speak about your current coworkers or boss in a negative way.
As the saying goes, ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’. This is one of the most important tips of all. You should know your resume inside out and have a good knowledge of the job description you are applying for. Learn as much as you can about the organization you are applying to, keeping in mind how you would qualify for the position.
Before going near the interview, practice answering some interview questions. Be comfortable listing your talents, skills and experiences that apply to the position you are applying for. Plan and practice some typical interview questions. Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself. This will help you eliminate any signs of nerves or inappropriate language. Having someone evaluate you can be a big help in putting your mind at ease.
If at any time you are unsure as to exactly what the interviewer is asking then take a moment to clarify. The interviewer will appreciate you answering their questions correctly and not waffling. Before leaving the interview, don’t forget to ask when you are likely to hear whether or not you have been successful.
Ask for a business card before you leave and follow-up with an email or a letter expressing your appreciation for the interview, how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are in the position. This is a good opportunity to reiterate why you would be a good candidate for the position.
Following these tips you will be better prepared and better rehearsed for your next interview, giving you every chance of success.