by Jesse Hendon
Are you just about to leave college? You are just setting out in the job market? Are you back in the job market after being out for years?! You may find the thought of an interview daunting. You shouldn’t. Remember, these are people just like you and I. You want to make a good impression, treat them like you’d want to be treated and most of all, don’t show fear!
Creating a good impression at an interview isn’t rocket science. This article will help you face your interview with confidence.
Think about job and the image you present. It is your opportunity to impress not shock. Be comfortable but dress the part. Nails, hair should be clean and well presented, your shoes shiny, the interviewers should notice you rather than your jewelry or perfume/aftershave. Guys, don’t wear AXE! I’m sorry, but this isn’t a high school locker room.
Smile, you need to show that you are enthusiastic and excited for the opportunity!
Think about how you sit, sit back in the seat but don’t sprawl. Think about what you are going to do with your hands.
Make eye contact, it is usual to make the person who asked the question the person of main focus. Remember to scan the panel so everyone feels included. Looking at your hands, the floor or out of the window is a real turn off when you interview someone.
Most interviews start with a question about you, so tell us a little about yourself. I like to prepare an answer so you can feel relaxed. Think about the highlights and what you’ve learned from them. If you have passions, outline them. If you have led, explain who you led and how. Show some pride in who you are!
Watch the interviewer’s body language. Mirror how they present themselves. If they are a little more reserved, pull back a little. If you find them to be a personality, don’t be afraid to animate!
Prepare thoroughly, research what the job entails. Consider the skills and knowledge base needed and do a self-audit comparing it with what you have to offer. Enthusiasm and energy for the position can often make up for lack of credentials, particularly if it’s obvious that you have done your research and have the potential to learn.
Many interviews are also lost because the candidate doesn’t actually listen to the question. Listen carefully; if you don’t understand what they want ask them to repeat the question. It’s ok to be a little conservative. Slow it down and don’t rush or be rushed.
Think about exactly what they are asking, what do they need to know? Is it referring to particular skills, knowledge, principles, understanding, your experience etc.
Use the question as a platform to sell yourself, but be honest. If it is appropriate use the question to give concrete examples of what you have done/can do. Be careful not to become anecdotal you must make a clear connection between the question and your answer.
If you don’t know something it isn’t the end of the world, but BE HONEST. Interviewers would rather hear, I don’t know but I’d be really keen to learn than discover too late that you have been dishonest.
Finally remember that most people who interview are also anxious, as the success of their business is dependent on appointing the right people. Do your best, be yourself and if you don’t get the job ask for feedback on your interview. In this way the interview becomes part of your professional development and not a failure. Good Luck!