Life is an interview! Everyone you come across will be left an impression of you and your best self is the one you want to leave them with. None of us are perfect but there are moments in life when you realise that to achieve your goal you really will need to be giving the best impression and one of these is the job interview.
The purpose of the interview is for you to suss out whether the employer is the right one for you: the firm, the culture, the business, the industry, the team, the boss, the commute, the hours… Are you going to fit in? The employer is assessing whether you are going to fulfil all their requirements including the above and probably, at the forefront of their agenda, is your work ethic, your attitude, your experience, skills and potential.
To prepare for an interview
- Macro / micro approach: research the industry, the company, their competitors, the employees and especially your interviewer(s) – this allows you to go into the interview fully prepared and so your interest in the role and company will be more genuine and informed.Questions to ask yourself – What might the employer need to know that isn’t necessarily on your CV or obvious from first impressions? Are you the gatekeeper, the communicator, organiser, and chief detail-wizard? Do you have any special skills: confident with public speaking; you’re the person who arranges the fixtures for the work football team…? Try to get these across, you might not be asked directly about them but they’re important to bring this into conversation as these are the things that help you stand out.
- CV – proofread it again, make sure the tone is right, highlight any key attributes that are suitable for the role, ensure the dates are accurate and if since your application you have since left the role – update the date of leaving! Know your CV back to front so you can answer questions without referring to it.
- You’ve planned the day of your interview, your schedule enables you not to be in a hurry (or certainly not appear to be in a hurry, although time might be tight) and you’ve taken a recce of the location – using street view on Google maps prior to the interview can really help recognising the building on arrival! Check your travel arrangements!
- Compose yourself, take a deep breath, arrive uncluttered but with your CV, passport and any other required documents. Smile… you will feel more positive and connect better! Good manners are important and eye contact essential (everybody you come across from security and reception is forming an impression of you).
- Remember the ‘hooks’: these are the things people remember you for that might not be directly related to the role. There isn’t a trick, you need to be genuine and leave an impression that helps you stand out (in a positive manner!)
- Read your interviewer and if you feel you need to take a more direct approach perhaps ask the question – do you want me to take you through my CV?
- Keep focused, positive, enthusiastic, concise and open minded.
- After the interview you may feel you’ve missed something, so don’t be afraid to follow up with questions, a thank you and any follow up – maybe a link to something that came up in conversation. Thank the person who introduced you and follow up with your thoughts and feedback
- Keep a note of your interview thoughts and feedback, all the contacts in your Outlook and any connections or memorable “hooks” you are left with.