While the average length of an interview is 40 minutes, statistics show that 33% of employers know within the first 90 seconds if they will hire that candidate.
With this in mind interviewing can be daunting, however it is a skill you can learn. The following checklist should step you in the right direction…
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Preparation is key in maximising your chances of success. Before any interview research the company, culture and if available always ask for the job description. A useful approach is to then write out likely questions based on the company’s mission, vision and values along with the positions selection criteria.
Dress for Success
You may ask what’s an appropriate dress code for an interview?
You will want your first impression to not just be a good one, but a great one. The candidate dressed in a suit and tie is going to make a better impression than the candidate dressed in scruffy jeans and a t-shirt.
However, know your audience and for a workplace that is less formal, the dress code may be as well. Regardless, smart attire will increase your confidence as well as boosting your professional image.
Time is of the essence
Lateness is a recruitment pet peeve. Plan your route in advance, aim to arrive 10 – 15 mins early and notify reception on arrival.
Don’t let nerves get the better of you
If the thought of interviewing makes you uneasy, rest assured you’re not alone. Try the following to curb your nerves:
- While waiting for the interviewer take a few deep breathes. This may seem pointless however it will lower your heart rate and help you compose yourself;
- Be aware of your body language. Don’t slouch, endeavour to engage, smile, and mirror the interviewer’s positive body language;
- If you needlessly speak with your hands or are a self-confessed nervous fidgeter, keep those hands clasped together on your lap;
- Sometimes candidates nervously avoid eye contact. Show your enthusiasm by keeping an interested expression. If you have more than one person interviewing you at once, make sure you briefly address all then and return your attention to the person who has asked you the question.
You know you are the perfect person for the job, however competition is high. You will need to formulate a strategy to stand out and a bit of shameless self promotion never hurt anyone.
Along with your relevant skills and experience you will want to prove your values and attitudes align and confirm that you are the perfect person for the job. Be proud of who you are and let it shine.
Tailor your approach
More often than not the employers questions will be open ended. Don’t use one word answers – tailor your approach. Ooze with confidence in your relevant skills and experience, be concise, provide structure and substance and most importantly answer the question asked.
Substance translates to your accomplishments and most interview questions can be answered with an accomplishments story. Employers will appreciate it if you can give relevant examples because it provides a solid basis that your skills, experience, subject-matter expertise, and / or other criteria match their job requirements
“Describe your greatest weakness.”
A weakness for interview purposes can be defined as “A fundamental and continuing inability to perform some essential part of a job.”
This question can often catch candidates off guard. Be prepared for that dreaded question, know your weaknesses, possibly discuss skills that you have improved upon and answer with honesty.
For example, “Being organised wasn’t my strongest point but I have researched and implemented a time management system that really helped my organisation skills.”
The employer shouldn’t be the only one asking questions and the end of an interview gives you the chance to ask some. Choose your questions wisely; asking the right questions is almost as important as giving good answers. The questions you ask will show your level of interest in the job and understanding of the role.
For example, ask “What are the fundamental challenges of the role?” Or
“What are the top 3 skills required to be successful in the role?”
Leave a lasting impression
Finally, don’t let your interview be the last point. Follow up afterwards. A short, polite email reaffirming your interest and asking if there’s any other information you can provide will help the employer remember who you are for all the right reasons and reinforce that you should be given serious consideration.
Best of luck in securing your dream job