Being in recruitment, I hear about a lot of interviews, and so many candidates get interviewing so horribly wrong. So, for those of you who are on the hunt for a new role and have upcoming interviews, here are a few tips to help you smash it…
If you do the right research, you’ll impress the hiring manager, overtake your competition and probably get the job. Providing you don’t royally screw up the interview, obviously.
Don’t bother with boring things like when the company was founded or what the CEOs favourite colour is. That’s the work of mediocre candidates. Focus on the company’s visions and values…
To top it off, how can you provide value to those?
Whether you’re interviewing at a law firm or a modern marketing agency where jeans and trainers are the norm, always dress smartly. For the latter, you aren’t part of the gang yet, you’re not eligible for the dress-down rule.
First impressions count. In the words of fashion titan, Tom Ford, “dressing well is a form of good manners”.
If it’s a law firm or something of a similar ilk, suit up! For a more casual company, err on the smarter side of smart-casual, and always, always polish your shoes.
Punctuality shows a lot about your personality. Arriving promptly (but not too early) shows you’re an excellent timekeeper and respect people’s time.
To make sure you arrive on time, do a practise journey the day before your interview, so you know exactly how long it takes and what routes you need to take or stops to get off at.
Shake hands upon greeting and conclusion
This could be the make or break of your interview. Shaking hands upon greeting will exude confidence and knowledge of professional courtesy. Shaking hands on conclusion, however, is a little more interesting…
A handshake at the end of your interview signals an agreement as if you’ve just shaken on landing the job, or at least another meeting. You can strengthen this signal further by saying something along the lines of “Thank you for the interview, I appreciate your time. I look forward to meeting again at the next stage”. Behavioural economics at its finest (see below).
Maintain eye contact
Constantly looking around the room connotes a lack of confidence. Eye contact shows you’re actually paying attention and conveys trustworthiness. If there are multiple interviewers, make sure you make eye contact with each of them. But don’t stare, you don’t want to look like a creepy weirdo.
Because nobody wants to work with a misery-guts. Show some teeth!
Sit up straight
Slouching with your arms and legs spread everywhere is:
You don’t want to portray a not-so-bothered attitude. Sit up, smile and look confident, curious and engaged.
“Where does the company plan to be in 5-years?”, “What’s been the company’s biggest accomplishment?” These are awful questions. Who knows where the company will be in 5-years? So much can change in that time. And why do you care?!
Ask questions that directly impact you. This will be useful and impress the interviewer. For example:
These questions convey ambition, a desire to learn and genuine interest in a long-term career with the company.
When answering questions, tailor your answers to the company/role and use benefit statements. For example:
“My main strength is my ability to communicate. I think this will be useful here as I’ll have no problem cold calling prospective customer’s and will quickly build rapport and interest. From there, I can identify the customer's pain points and offer relevant solutions from our roster of products.”
This will get the interviewer used to you talking about the company as if you’re already a part of it. And, it’ll show you understand the role well enough to see how you’ll benefit it.
Also, don’t make poor attempts at being funny like I’ve done in this subheading. Sigh. But seriously, don’t swear. Even if the interviewer does, do not reciprocate it. You need to maintain your professionalism and show you can act professionally, and your behaviour can’t be influenced easily.
This is ballsy, but if you’re feeling confident, ask “Do you have any reservations about me?” This creates an opportunity for the interviewer to air any concerns and enables you to overcome them immediately. Once you’ve put their concerns to rest, there should be no reason left to not offer you the job. You’re welcome.
Nobody does this, and it baffles me why. You’d send a thank you email after a meeting, so why wouldn’t you after interviewing for the job you want to land? A simple two-sentence email to the interviewer will put you in a completely different league to all other candidates. It shows gratitude and that you really do want this job.
Be confident, be polite, be curious and ask brave questions. Do all that, and you’re golden!
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Jae Jackson-Loveridge | Director