So, you’ve done all the hard work and bagged yourself an interview. Here are ten tips for making your interview experience a pleasant one for both you and the interviewer(s) built up from my almost 20 years of experience interviewing for various roles.
- Do your research. Interviewers are always impressed by a candidate who has researched the company and can make relevant and useful observations about the company, its ethos and why they chose to apply for a role at the company.
- Be prepared. Your interview experience starts from the moment you have confirmation that you are being called to interview. Ensure that you know what to wear and that it is something appropriate to the organisation as well as being comfortable enough for you to avoid being distracted.
- Be vigilant. The way that you present yourself through your journey to the interview may also be relevant. In this day and age with people commuting from all different areas, you have no idea whether the woman sitting opposite to you in the train carriage is your interviewer or the man whom you let have the last seat in the tube. Act as if every minute from the time that you step out of your house is part of the interview process.
- Humility goes a long way. When you arrive at the interview make sure that you treat every single person with dignity and respect. Some companies are as interested in the way that you interact with the cleaners, security personnel, and receptionists as they are in your ability to do the role so make sure that you don’t let yourself down by acting aloof or dismissive.
- Have a golden handshake. A weak handshake is memorable for an interview for all the wrong reasons. Make sure that your handshake is decisive and firm and that if you are prone to sweaty palms that you have wiped them dry. Nothing worse than a damp weak handshake.
- Don’t lie. Whether consciously or subconsciously human beings are often able to pick up on cues that indicate someone is being Some easy giveaways are when people’s stories get more involved or far-fetched and involve them making decisions that would usually be out of their purview or when situations seem to always end perfectly with no problems encountered. In the world of work, we know that it is rarely that straightforward.
- Take your time. If you need some thinking time, don’t be afraid to take a breath and a moment to think before responding. This is a much better tactic than just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind. If the silence feels too uncomfortable for you take a sip of water to buy yourself some time.
- Tell the interviewers a story. If possible provide an example to support your responses. Within the example, you should take them on a journey. What was the issue? How did you respond to it? What was the outcome? What praise or positive feedback did you receive? Telling them a story helps them to understand your thought process, and by sharing feedback, you are reinforcing the fact that you are valued by those around you.
- Ask an insightful question at the end. One of the best ways to stand out is to ask a question at the end that makes the interviewers stop and think. Example questions might be:
- Why do you love working here?
- What motivates you to keep coming to work each day?
- Why did you apply for your job here?
- How would you describe the organisational culture or the team culture?
- Exit with grace. Regardless of how you think the interview went, it is crucial for you to leave with a pleasant disposition which you continue until you are home or away from the vicinity of the interview. How you leave is as important as how you arrive, and you are being evaluated at every step of the way.
I hope you find these tips useful. I would love to hear your interview stories. Please do email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your stories or for bespoke coaching on interview preparation.