by James from Staffbay
Your dream job is within your grasp. You have swotted up on the company – you can name its Chief Executive Officers all the way back to the day it started. This is an important job; the job you have been aiming for all your career. You have had the tour, you know the premises inside out. You know the product. You KNOW the company. Now all you need to do is clinch it. Your time is NOW.
And then, it could all go pear-shaped, as they say. An epic fail of gargantuan proportions. You dry up. Your mouth is not connected with your brain, or even worse in some cases, there is no off button. Everything in your brain comes tumbling out, in a completely random order.
You are making a mess of it. It is a nightmare. But you can wake up from it with these 9 rather surprising interview tips, amassed over the years from thousands of interviews across all sectors.
A word of caution:
You need to gauge the panel sat in front of you and you need to measure the risk of how some of these tips will go down with them. In some interview situations, they can work a treat but in others they can fall completely flat.
You only have seconds to create a favourable impression and faffing about telling jokes may not be the way you want to start the conversation. However, during the interview, as you feel more comfortable, you may feel you need to add some zest and zing so that they see a different side to you.
Hence, proceed with caution – it is your responsibility how well you come across.
Tip 1- Breaking the ice:
There is sometimes a tricky question or two thrown into an interview and one of them is this: what are your biggest/greatest weaknesses? It sends a trickle of sweat running down the back of any interviewee, but there is an answer.
You could name your favourite film star and then add further to the chuckles hopefully coming from the panel with something faintly ridiculous such as ‘persistent lateness’. However, once you have done this you need to answer.
Drawing a blank?
You need to turn this negative question into a positive one. Think of it as what would you like to improve in the next year? What are your goals, etc?
Tip 2- Two-way conversation:
Everyone likes to feel that they are taking part in a conversation and it shouldn’t be any different when it comes to interviews. Many candidates turn up, assuming that the interview is a one-way process – they ask the questions, you answer.
Try this – research, research, research will throw up some interesting information about the company. Why not ask them about their new product, service or a part of their history? Be proactive and encourage a two-way exchange.
Tip 3- Appearance is tactical too:
You really do need to dress for the job. Having said that, if it is a role that requires a uniform or protective clothing of some kind, clearly turning up dressed ready to begin work will not make the best of starts.
If it is a ‘suited and booted’ position, then wear a suit; if it is not that formal, then opt for conservative, block colours rather than bold, dramatic patterns. Keep colours rich and elegant, rather than patterned and over the top.
Tip 4- Be nice to EVERYBODY:
You will be amazed at how much sway the receptionist can have in telling a panel member how rude/ignorant/uncommunicative x candidate was when they arrived, etc.
Wherever you go in the building, whoever you talk to, assume they have the authority to hire or fire you – and treat them as such. It pays to be nice.
Tip 5- Honesty works:
Many interviewees are nervous and anxious, which is understandable. In some cases, it can help to ‘admit’ to these nerves. But, before you think this will make you look like a dribbling wreck, turn it on its head; by acknowledging some of these anxious behaviours, you will make yourself more comfortable…and people hire people they are comfortable with!
Tip 6- Don’t be bombarded:
Allowing the interviewing panel to take complete charge can make you feel that you are being bombarded so make sure that you retain partial control of the interview too. The best way to do this is to have some key questions prepared beforehand. Try these:
- ‘What is the company’s long-term vision?’
- ‘Is there anything from my previous experience you would like me to elaborate on?’
Tip 7- You WANT the job:
Remember, you do need to give them signals you want the job.
Tip 8- Résumé:
Always have several copies of your résumé, and anything else you feel could help with your application and interview for the job. This shows you are professional and prepared, two key abilities that many companies would give their right hand for.
Tip 9- Follow up:
95% of candidates, if they are unsuccessful, leave it at that, but rather than phoning and asking why you didn’t get the job, write to them thanking them for interviewing you and outlining what you gained from the experience. You never know, if a job arises in the near future, they may just contact you.