Nail that interview

Posted October 13, 2011, by Davide Crisante

Job interviews come in all different forms but one fundamental goal remains the same – you need to convince an interviewer that you are the one. To do this you need to understand what the interviewer is looking for and prove that you can deliver. The three things that will help you secure the job are: preparation, presentation, and performance. 

Preparation: Research the company

Get as much information about the company, job and industry as you can. Don’t just rely on a Google search or a quick skim of the organisation’s website – though this is a good start! To really impress, look for additional sources of information like business journals and newspapers. Find out who the company’s major clients are, what the company does and the names of people in key positions like the CEO. Then make sure you mention some of this information at the interview.

Contact the company and ask about the interview process, and find out who will be interviewing you. If the organisation is large, you can look for information about this person online. Knowing something about the person interviewing you can be a massive advantage on the day.

Preparation: Research yourself

Speak with some old colleagues about your positive and negative traits while at work. What have you done to build on your strengths and overcome your weaknesses? It's vital to be clear about what you want, so work out your long-term career goals and how this job fits your plan.

Make sure you know your resume well and be ready to prove your experience by having a few examples of work achievements up your sleeve.

Preparation: Research the questions

A number of standard questions come up again and again in interviews so it is possible to plan what you will say if you are asked one of these. For example, it's easy to plan in advance an answer to 'tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult person'.

Practise answering the questions at home. Treat it like a rehearsal and make sure you are confident to tell your story and to ad lib if something unexpected happens.

Presentation: Clothes

It is better to be overdressed than underdressed and this often means wearing a suit. The easiest way to find out what is expected of you is to ring the receptionist and ask what the dress code is. Even if it is casual, you should still dress in smart business clothes. Keep accessories like jewellery to a minimum, make sure your is hair tidy and your shoes must be clean.

Presentation: Behaviour

It is important to come across as enthusiastic, but let the interviewer set the tone. They might not shake your hand, but be ready in case they do. React to their mannerisms. If the interviewer has a soft tone, don't speak loudly back to them. If you tend to move your hands around a lot, try to keep them closer to your lap. And of course, never forget the golden rule. Turn that mobile phone off!

Presentation: Develop rapport

An interview is sometimes likened to a date – which is why they can be so intimidating! The best way to make a good impression is by staying calm and relaxed. Be yourself and try to enjoy the experience. Eye contact and a smile are essential. Actively listen to everything the interviewer says and incorporate his or her own words into your answers. Make sure you don't send off negative signals by crossing your arms or by looking around the room instead of at the interviewer.

Performance: You're the star

You've prepared, you're confident and you're looking terrific. Now it's showtime! Or rather, audition time! It's time to sell yourself and convince your interviewer that you are the one and only. And don't forget to be on time (in fact, make sure you are there a little early).

Stay cool, calm and focused. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help relax your muscles. Stand tall as you walk in and shake hands. Eye contact is good but should not be continuous -that's unnatural and a little scary!

Performance: Show and tell

Show what you know and what you can do. Listen carefully, and respond. Ask questions of your own at the end and thank the person for their time with another handshake.

Follow up via email or snail mail to say thank you for the interview and reiterate your interest in the position. Then cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Davide Crisante

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