Getting yourself a job interview is a pretty big deal, it means that the employer has seen your CV and believes you have the experience and qualifications necessary for the role available. You are already off to a great start, so what is the point of the interview process and how can you use it to your full advantage?
For those people who choose to lie on their CV, employers are a lot more aware of this than you may think and will use the interview as an opportunity to confirm that you do in fact meet all the requirements. Once they have confirmed that the skills match the CV, they will then aim to find out what sort of employee you will be. For example, will you be a hard worker? Enthusiastic? Likeable? And most importantly, will you fit in well with the rest of the team?
The interview process is just as important for you as it is for the employer in terms of finding out whether or not you will be a good fit. It is your chance to find out about the company and get a feel for the place. Ask yourself whether you would be satisfied working there if you were successful in getting the job.
Your first goal in a job interview is to make them want you, and this starts from the moment you walk through the door. Simple gestures such as smiling, dressing correctly and having a strong handshake, can all increase your chances of employment.
Preparing for an interview is key. It is important to research the company of which you are interviewing to allow you to answer questions intelligently and show a high level of enthusiasm and interest. It is also just as important to know a lot about yourself as well as the company, start by making sure you know your attributes and what they can bring to the employer, as well as some innocuous flaws in which you are able to turn into positives.
It is important to get a good balance of being prepared and not sounding too rehearsed. You will want to answer questions confidently and provide information that will help you to get the job, so having a basic idea of what you want to say will prevent the use of filler words such as ‘um’ and ‘uh’ that will make you look nervous and unsure. In order to convey an image of someone who is self-assured, you will need good eye contact and positive body language. These things are easy to obtain simply through practice. Try recording yourself, or asking a friend for help to conduct a mock interview.
What to wear
As much as we’d like to think appearance has nothing to do with the results of a job interview, unfortunately that just isn’t the case. Although dressing appropriately will not get you the job if you aren’t the best candidate, lack of self care and effort in the way you dress could portray to the employer that you have a lack of care and effort in your work as well. You should dress appropriate for the job in hand, this will also involve good preparation and research on the company.
What questions to ask
Always be ready with questions to ask. Ask questions that will allow you to learn more about the employer, but don’t ask about anything you should have been able to uncover through your research. This will not only show that you are interested, but also will help you in your decision about whether or not to accept the job if offered to you. See our blog on Top questions to ask and not to ask in an interview
Sending a thank you note after an interview won’t necessarily make a difference to the outcome, but it is appreciated by some employers and could give you a better chance of being remembered. It will also give you the opportunity to mention or ask anything that you previously didn’t. When waiting to hear back from an interview, I would give it a week before following up, unless they have specifically told you when you could expect to hear something.