AUTHOR: ANNA BURNETT
Interviews can be an extremely daunting process, especially if your dream job is at stake. The face-to-face interview is the first chance you have to seriously impress your potential employer, and be in with a chance of landing yourself the job. While every company has a different interview strategy, these tips can help you get through this process and onto that dream job.
Control the Nerves:
It is perfectly normal to feel nerves prior to an interview; if anything, it shows your passion and commitment to the role. However, if you come across too nervous, the interviewer will doubt your abilities and if you appear too confident, the interviewer might interpret this as cockiness. Managing the balance between the two is the key to acing your interview. To do this, think of the interview as a conversation, instead of an interrogation. All you are doing is speaking with another person, about something you are an expert in: yourself. You know exactly what your strengths are, what skills you have and what you can bring to a company. All you need to do is relay that information to the interviewer, and let them see your potential.
Dress to Impress:
While it may seem pointless for me to write about interview appropriate clothing, you will not believe the amount of people who don't think about their appearance in interviews. While your interviewer definitely won't mind what you choose to wear on your own time, if you come to an interview in anything unsuitable, they will instantly lose faith and respect for you. This is where you get to make your first real impression, and the first thing the interviewer is going to look at is your appearance - don't give them a reason to judge you for it. Everyone has their own style, so trying to determine a standard interview look is impossible. The only advice I can give you, is make sure that you look professional - no matter what job you are going for.
No matter where you are interviewing, it is crucial to do research on the company. Not only is it important for you to know exactly what the role entails for your own benefit, but coming across as knowledgeable in your interview will increase your chances of a call back. Giving the company a quick Google search, and finding out key facts and achievements will allow you to stand out from the other applicants. Every recruiter I know has said that the most outstanding candidates stood out because they were clearly prepared and interested in the company. You don't have to go through every single page of their website and memorise it word for word - if anything this will hurt your chances in your interview. Have just enough information to comfortably answer the inevitable question: 'So, what do you know about our company already?', while still having room to learn more.
Get to the Point:
When you ask someone a question, the worst thing they can do is go on and on about irrelevant things and completely miss the point. You lose interest in what they're saying, and you didn't get an answer to your original question. It's the same with interviews - when the interviewer asks you a question, make sure you answer it quickly and don't stray away from the point. While it is good give as much information as possible, you want to make sure it's relevant to the question. The interviewer wants to know that you are keen and interested in this particular role, and aren't just looking for any random job. When responding to questions, focus on getting the answer out straight away and then explaining how this will be relevant to the company you are applying to.
A great way to find out if this job is the one for you, is to ask questions. Not only do you get the details you need to make an informed decision, you also show your enthusiasm about the role. I always advise potential candidates to come up with a list of 5-6 questions to ask at the end of the interview. Normally, an interviewer will unknowingly answer 3 or 4 of these questions just by talking to you about the role, so having enough questions prepared means that you aren't left with nothing. The questions you ask should show your passion about the role, and not come across as if you are just looking for another job. Ask questions such as 'What does it take to succeed here?', 'What would you say is your favorite thing about working here?' and 'How you would describe the working atmosphere?, instead questions like 'What is the basic salary?' and 'How long do I get for lunch?'. A great question I would always recommend asking, is 'What is your immediate feedback for me?' - this question gives off the perfect amount of confidence, while also giving you the chance to hear exactly where you stand in the process.
After an interview, most companies will want a week or so, to think, before calling you with any feedback. A good way to make sure that you hear back, no matter the outcome, is to send a follow up email. Before leaving the interview, try to obtain the interviewers' business cards, so you then have the direct contact details, including their email addresses. I recommend sending a 'Thank You' email to all the interviewers involved, a day after meeting with them. The email should briefly outline how much you appreciate the opportunity for an interview, and the information the interviewers provided you - make sure you let the recipients know that you are still interested in the role! If after this you still haven't heard back within the specified times, chances are you haven't been successful for the role. However, this should not stop you from giving the interviewer a call and asking for feedback. Getting feedback will help you out with future interviews, and so you should not be scared of making this call.
Of course, every company has a different interview strategy and so you have to take everything as it comes. However, if you follow the above advice and have the experience that the company want, then you will succeed in your interview.
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