Ok, so your brilliant CV has got you an interview. What next? As a Training and Recruitment Coordinator, I’ve run a fair amount of interview sessions in my time, and I’ve seen plenty of great (and awful) interviewees. I’ve added my knowledge to that of a few other people who’ve conducted interviews do come up with a few dos and don’ts.
Interviews are scary places to be, but with a few top tips, you’re sure to dazzle ‘em!
Dress the part
You’ll need a smart outfit. It doesn’t have to be a three-piece suit; trousers with a shirt and tie, shift dress or a skirt with a top is fine. You want to look like you mean business and dressing professionally shows that you’re a professional. Even if the office dress-code is casual, you should aim for smart for the interview.
No sportswear. I’ve seen people turn up to interviews in tracksuits, trainers and even football tops. Don’t.
Don’t be late!
Lateness for an interview is unforgivable. Don’t do it. How long will it take to get there? Add at least 10 minutes extra for delays. Account for traffic jams, loo breaks and touching up your make up. The last thing you want is to be stressed out trying to get there. If possible, do a trial run. Obviously, this doesn’t work if it’s in a different town, but it’s one less thing to worry about on the day if you know exactly where you’re going.
Think happy thoughts
If you think positive thoughts before you go in, you’ll feel more confident. Apparently, thinking about powerful, respected people beforehand will make you perform better in the interview (Hey, it’s worth a try!)
Make positive introductions
Shake hands, smile and say, “pleased to meet you.” Most people form an opinion on someone within 3 minutes of meeting them, that includes interviewers. Be friendly, but business-like and you’ll make a good impression.
Manage your nerves
It’s normal to be nervous, especially if you really want the job, just don’t let it affect your performance. You might well have a sweaty bum and the urge to run away and never look back, but your interview need never know! Watch out for leg-jiggling, constant water sipping, hand-wringing and collar-pulling. You can’t stop the nerves altogether so focus on your body language and take a deep breath before you answer questions.
Do your research
What does the company do? Who are their managers, directors, board members and clients? How do they make their money? If it’s a charity, how do they fundraise? Find out as much as you can before the interview. Try to read more than just the company’s website, find news articles, reviews or financial reports. What else do they do? Obviously, the focus should be on the department you want to work in, but make sure you know what else happens in the organisation.
You do need to give lots of detail when you answer, but know when to stop talking. Have you said the same thing twice? Are you meandering off topic? Shut up. There’s nothing worse than an interview that goes on and on and on.
Be yourself! It’s your accomplishments that have got you to this stage. Show them your personality and don’t be afraid to tell them how awesome you are.
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