Securing a job interview is a significant achievement, which provides you with an opportunity to present your experience and impress a prospective employer. It's natural to feel nervous, but there are some simple preparatory steps that will help you make a favourable first impression.
1. Conduct in-depth research
Go beyond the company's homepage and study as much as you can, from blog posts to quarterly reports. In-depth knowledge will help you to come across as informed, intelligent and enthusiastic, and you’ll be able to promote yourself in a way that aligns with the company's goals.
2. Edit your Facebook
Modern interviews begin long before you meet in person, as 91% of employers admit to screening candidates on social media first. Rather than worrying about this stage in the process, think of it as another opportunity to showcase your professional persona. The main three things employers assess are whether you'll fit in with their office culture, whether the information listed supports the qualifications on your CV, and how creative you are, so tailor your profile to reassure them.
3. Be prepared
There are some interview questions that come up time and again, such as "What are your weaknesses?" Research common interview questions and prepare interesting, personalised answers that the interviewer may not have heard before.
4. Perfect your handshake
Most job interviews start and end with a handshake. An effective handshake gives the impression of confidence and good social skills, so practise yours beforehand. It should last for two to three seconds, and be dry and firm – neither too tight nor too loose.
5. Show confidence
Speak evenly and clearly, look the interviewer in the eye and smile. When describing your achievements, avoid superlatives and focus on the facts. Over-confidence is not an attractive trait, but neither is insecurity.
6. Tell the truth
Don't be tempted to exaggerate your experiences; it's easy to be caught out, and dishonesty is not an attractive quality in a candidate. If you don't know the answer, stay calm, be honest and explain how you'll rectify that for the future.
7. Think aloud
If you're asked analytical questions, like Google's famous "How many piano tuners are there in the world?", talk the interviewer through your thought process. They're asking to test your analytical skills, not to find out whether you know the answer or not.
8. Answer the question
Avoid leaving the interviewer feeling confused about what you've said. If you're unsure about whether your answer was satisfactory, say, "Has that answered your question?" This is polite, shows you're self-aware and gives them the chance to redirect your response if necessary.
9. Be inquisitive
Asking questions at the end of an interview shows that you're interested and you've been listening. Try to focus in on an area that hasn't been discussed, whether that's promotion or the company culture.
10. Follow up
Sending a polite email to thank the interviewer later that day gives you yet another way to sell yourself. It indicates that you're polite and conscientious, and will keep you at the forefront of the interviewer's mind when they come to make a decision.
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