You passed the resume stage and made it to the interview. This is your chance to flex the skills you bragged about on your resume! You’ve already gotten further than most of the other applicants, and acing the interview is the last step before landing your dream job. So here are our tips on how to execute a successful interview:
Research, research, research!
The biggest pitfall you can make in an interview is failing to get to know the company beforehand – and they will know if you haven’t. As a candidate, you can exhibit your interest in the role by showing you took the time to read up on how the company operates. This is also a good way to ask relevant questions towards the end. “I already know some, but I would like to know more,” is a great approach to take.
Present yourself as a professional
Wearing the right attire goes without saying, but make sure your body fits the bill too. You can be nervous, as long as you don’t act it. Offer a firm handshake and keep eye contact, you aren’t required to be overly-personal (and in fact are encouraged not to) but remember the person interviewing you is probably going to have to work directly with you, and no one will hire someone they wouldn’t want to spend their office hours with. Fidgeting does not display confidence, so relax as much as you can. Make jokes at your own risk, assess the atmosphere and if you feel it is appropriate, go ahead. But know when to act seriously and remember you are being interviewed, not having coffee with a friend.
Be on time
The very worst thing you can do is be late, and most employers will skip you and refuse to conduct the interview if you didn’t make it on time. Of course, sometimes your car will break down or the public transport system might throw you off, but planning ahead can avoid any nasty surprises. Plan to arrive far earlier than your scheduled time, you’ll have to sit and wait but this provides you with plenty of time to sit back, relax and review your resume before going in for the kill.
Keep on track
The interviewer has prepared a set of specific questions for a reason, and you should only answer the questions that are asked. They are writing down your responses to look over later, so unless you think what you are about to say is crucially relevant, failing to directly respond and going off a tangent can leave you not fulfilling their hiring criteria on paper.
Prepare questions based on your research
At the end of almost every interview, you will be asked if you have any questions. You should always have questions – and because you did your research into the company, you’re going to have a few good ones. If they have recently posted on their company blog about an ongoing project, ask the hiring manager how it’s going. Ask about the day-to-day of the role you are applying for, inquire about the company culture and what is like to work there. Ask about any current developments, challenges or opportunities the company can offer. Failing to have a few prepared questions can leave the interviewer with the impression you really aren’t that interested in the role.
Following this strategy can ensure you pull off any interview with flair and leave you a few steps closer to your dream career. Remember the few basic rules of research, time keeping, presenting yourself professionally, answering directly and showing interest, and you’ve got this!