1. The interview starts as soon as you leave the house
The interview starts long before you shake hands and sit down in front of your interviewer. You never know who you might bump into on your commute, or whilst in the company’s building elevator. So, make sure you project a friendly, confident, professional manner from the moment you set off.
Make sure you arrive early enough to allow yourself time to settle in. Put your phone on silent mode, make conversation with the receptionist and take in your surroundings — you might notice something that will make a useful ‘small-talk’ topic later. Don’t try and cram in any last-minute facts — you want to come across as calm and organized, not flustered and under-prepared.
2. Create a strong first impression
First impressions count, and non-verbal cues matter even more than verbal ones. So, in those first few minutes, it is all about smiling confidently, shaking hands firmly, making eye contact and generally looking as if you’re glad to be there and you want the job. In everything you do, project an attitude of energy, enthusiasm and interest.
3. Know the position you are applying for
If you can get your hands on one, study the job description to truly understand what the company is looking for. Knowing this, you can navigate the interview and discuss examples from previous jobs that will exemplify this trait. Do this for all significant traits or qualities that you identify in the job description. This is one of the easiest ways to nail your job interview.
4. Three key strengths
You must know your strengths. During your preparation, work out what you’re most proud of, what you’re best at and what you’re known for delivering consistently. You would not believe the amount of people that stumble on this question. Make sure it is tattooed in your brain! Same goes for weakness. Rather, think about this as an area for improvement because everyone has one. Spin the negative into a positive, like I don’t have experience on Microsoft Excel, although I wish to learn!
5. Be yourself
No matter how badly you want the job, if you aren’t a good match, you aren’t a good match. Never try to be what you “think” the job requires. Let your true self shine through and you’ll send off the positive energy you’ll need to ace your job interview. If you aren’t being true to yourself, the interviewer will sense your lack of authenticity right away.
6. Questions and next step
Always have two or three questions for them at the end, perhaps around career development, upcoming projects, the company vision or what makes them such a great company to work for. Don’t ask questions like how many hours, start and finish times or even money (especially in first stage interviews) unless they’ve asked you. Always remember, you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you. Ask questions that give you a greater understanding about whether the company is what you’re looking for. Always finish the interview by asking what the next step is and declare your keen interest in them and the opportunity. If you want it, show it!