So you’ve applied for a job and are invited for an interview…have you ever wondered how to make a job interview work in your favour and help you land your dream job?
Evidence suggests that your interviewer will often form an opinion within the first ten minutes of the interview, so a good first impression is vital.
The first thing a hiring manager will usually notice is how you present yourself. It may seem obvious, but it’s important to wear appropriate attire to an interview. Choosing a suit or other outfit that conveys a professional image is vital. Wear something appropriate for the industry you’re aiming to get into, and unless you’re applying for a job in the fashion industry, slightly conservative is best – neutral colours and not too flashy. Most people have a fairly good general idea of how ‘professional’ should look.
Make sure you maintain eye contact with the interviewer, and offer a firm handshake. Again, this may seem obvious, but it can be surprising how many people come across too casual or are shy about doing this. If eye contact and a handshake don’t come naturally to you, practice prior to your interview.
An important aspect of a job interview is to be able to sell yourself, so it’s a great idea to practice a quick sales pitch about yourself. Try not to waffle…maybe practice a bullet point list and outline your strong points and any recent achievements that may impress your interviewer. If possible, have some specific examples that are relevant to the position. You want your sales pitch to come across as smooth and natural as possible, so run through your spiel a few times beforehand. What you don’t want is to come across as an insincere salesperson - relaxed and down-to-earth is key.
If you are faced with any tricky questions, your best bet is just to be honest.
If you are faced with any tricky questions, your best bet is just to be honest. For example, if you were fired by your previous employer, be honest but remain positive. You don’t want to appear like you hold a lot of resentment or a grudge. If asked why you’re looking for a job, a good response is that you’re looking for to take the next step in your career, or to apply your skills in a different way.
As well as showing leadership skills to impress your future employer, you also want to come across as a team player. It’s beneficial for you if you can come up with examples of both scenarios in your interview. You also want to portray yourself as a hard worker committed to the mission of the company you’re interviewing with, so making the hiring manager aware of specific achievements you’ve achieved in the past and the fact that you will have an impact will impress.