How can I make a good ‘first impression’ at interview?
By reaching the interview stage you have already convinced the interviewer on paper, that you are capable of doing the job. The interview is your opportunity to convince them you’re the best person for the job. It isn’t a ‘test’. It enables the interviewer to see if you possess the necessary skills and knowledge for the job and of course will enable you to find out whether the company and the job are right for you.
Your appearance can affect the interviewer’s opinion of your ability or suitability for the job. Take care to make that crucial first impression a good one. Here are a few things to remember:
- Be smart, clean and well groomed
- Unless advised otherwise wear business attire i.e. business suit with shirt/ blouse
- Limit make up, perfume/aftershave and jewellery (this will only distract the Interviewer)
- Wear something different to the 2nd interview
Thing to take
- Copy of your Curriculum Vitae
- Any references/referrals
- Examination certificates
- Take just one bag or briefcase, otherwise you will look cluttered and disorganised and remember to turn off your mobile phone (or at least put it on silent).
Getting to the interview
- Make sure you take clear travel directions and research the location
- Maps and if possible do a ‘dummy run’ beforehand
- Allow plenty of travelling time to take account of unexpected delays
- Becoming flustered by having to rush and arriving late creates a bad impression. It is much better to arrive early.
What should I do in the interview?
- Remember the interviewer is often as nervous as you are
- When you meet your interviewer, confidently shake their hand
- Stay calm, don’t fidget or twiddle your thumbs
- Be polite
- Never eat or smoke during the interview. Accepting a soft drink, tea or coffee is fine
- Be yourself, be honest
- Show a real interest in the job
- Don’t answer a question you don’t understand, ask for clarification first
- Speak clearly using positive words such as ‘enjoy’ and ‘enthusiastic’
- Maintain some direct eye contact with your interviewer and smile. This shows confidence
Common interview questions – prepare your answers
- What do you know about our company?
- What qualifications or experience do you have that would make you a success in this company?
- What job in our company do you want to work towards?
- What jobs have you enjoyed most? The least? Why?
- What are your own special abilities?
- What have you done that shows initiative?
- Where do you see yourself in five years time?
- What are your strengths? Try and think of three or four prior to entering the interview
- What are your weaknesses?
- Why are you seeking new employment?
- Why do you want this position?
- What attracted you to this organisation?
- What is important to you in your job?
- How would you describe yourself?
- What can you offer us?
Questions to ask the Interviewer
Usually the interviewer will ask if you’ve any questions. They may have covered all the information you feel necessary but here are some you may like to ask:
- Who will I report to?
- Who will I be working with?
- What training opportunities are there?
- What promotional prospects are there?
- Why has the job become available?
- When will you be making a final decision?
- You may wish to clarify the salary and benefits if you’re not sure but only if the interviewer discusses this topic first.
Leaving the interview
You want them to remember you positively so:
- Smile and thank them for seeing you and for giving you the opportunity
- Tell them how you look forward to seeing them again and shake hands (firmly!)
- Tell them how much you enjoyed discussing the job with them
- If you want the job – TELL THEM SO
After the interview
Contact your Consultant to tell them what you thought about the interview as soon as possible.
If you’re offered the job – great! We’ll make all the necessary arrangements. If you didn’t get the job don’t give up. Put it down to experience and bear in mind that this interview was a valuable exercise in itself.
How important is preparation?
Preparation is all important. Showing the interviewer that you have taken the time to prepare and find out information will demonstrate your desire to do well, your ability to plan, to organise and to think ahead. Remember preparation is key. Fail to plan is the same as planning to fail.
What should I find out about the company?
Before your interview find out as much background information about the company as possible. With access to so much information it is inexcusable to attend an interview without being prepared. So do your research. This will help you decide if they’re the kind of company you’d like to work for, for instance:
- What is their business/product/service?
- How many employees do they have?
- Are they part of a large group, do they own other companies?
- Who are their competitors?
- What is their company mission/philosophy/turnover and profits?