Whether you are attending an interview for a permanent or fixed-term contract with an employer that you have always wanted to work for, now is your chance to prove your experience, qualifications and personality will be the right fit for the interview panel.
We have categorised the main aspects which you need to consider in terms of the interview process and highly recommend thorough preparation prior to your interview to maximise your opportunity for success.
Interviewers will always be impressed with candidates who are well presented. Therefore, it’s very important to look your best when arriving for your interview. Depending on the position which you have applied for, wear business suits or at least a pair of trousers and clean, polished shoes.
Although most interviewees are nervous during the interview process, first impressions do count! Always try your best to arrive between ten and fifteen minutes prior to your interview time slot. Under no circumstances should you arrive too late or too early.
When you are introduced to your interviewer, stand up straight and meet the person by extending your hand for a firm handshake whilst introducing yourself and providing confident eye contact.
The interviewer will probably ask how your journey was, whilst walking you to the interview room. Throughout the first impression stage, SMILE! You are pleased to have got the opportunity to be interviewed for the position, show that you are happy to be there!
- Sitting up straight is a sign of intelligence, confidence, and credibility.
- Look your interviewer in the eye while shaking their hand and maintain regular, but not overly persistent eye contact, throughout the interview.
- Keep your arms and legs uncrossed. Crossing your arms and legs may make you appear defensive or guarded.
- Smile – A genuine smile is often contagious and can immediately create a more positive environment.
- Address everyone– If there is more than one interviewer, make sure you address all people with your gaze and return your attention to the person who has asked you a question.
Always be clear and concise when answering a question. Answer questions properly and honestly, even if you need a few moments silence to collect your thoughts. When providing answers to the interviewer never waffle, it’s better to say you need a little time to think about your answer rather than speak instantly and regret it afterwards.
Having listened to the interviewer and answered their questions to the best of your knowledge, you may not have quite understood aspects of some of the questions. Always clarify aspects of the interview which you are uncertain about. This demonstrates that you have listened and importantly have the communication skills to ensure you fully understand what has been discussed. This will give the interviewer/panel confidence that you would be able to replicate this during your employment.
Part of knowing how to interview is being ready to ask questions that demonstrate an interest in how the department works and what type of people the company usually employ. Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to find out if this is the right place for you. The best questions come from listening to what you’re asked during the interview and asking for additional information that is important for you.
Other things to remember
Why should they hire you?
Most advertisements will list qualities that the department and company are looking for – a team worker, a good communicator etc. – so it’s up to you to think of examples of how you can demonstrate these skills. Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. If prompted, provide three achievements that demonstrate that you are a good match for their vacancy.
Your interviewer will be thinking about what it would be like to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear, is you talking about your boss or current colleagues in a negative way. Interviewers like to see future employees who enjoy a challenge, are enthusiastic and willing to go the extra mile to get the job done!
Expect the unexpected
Your interviewer may try to catch you off guard. It’s impossible to plan for every difficult question, such as “How would your current Manager best describe you?” but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat the question if necessary, but do not evade it.
Show energy, a sense of humour and smile. It’s infectious to be positive and enthusiastic. Ask your interviewer questions about themselves and any issues the business is facing.
Remember your manners
It is better to choose than to be chosen. Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Ask them for a business card and follow it up by sending a “thank-you” e-mail or letter, saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to explain your experience and what you can offer the company. In some cases they may not pass you a business card with their contact details, as they may decide to communicate with the agency that introduced you to the opportunity.