If you’ve got through to the interview stage, you’ve caught the recruiter’s interest. Your interview is the only chance you’ll have to keep it. This is your time to shine – you need to prove that you want the job, that you can do it, and that you’ll fit in with the company culture.
Though it can be daunting, there are simple interview preparation steps you can take to make sure that you impress.
Do your company research
The recruiter wants to see not only that you’re up for the job, but also that you’re enthusiastic about the prospect of it. They want you to show talent, ambition, and initiative. As part of this, they will expect you to have spent time researching the company.
Your first port of call should be to visit the website and find out as much as you can about the company, what it does and what it stands for. You’ll then need to search for any press releases or articles to find about the company’s recent news and achievements. Check out the company’s social media channels to find out more about their voice and interaction with the public. Above all else, get a feel for the company’s culture and demonstrate the values that they prize in the interview.
You need to go in to your interview confident, collected and well prepared. Before the interview, spend time thinking about potential questions and answers, points you really want to emphasise and the kind of impression you want to make. Figure out your strengths and think about how you can address your weaknesses. Think about usable examples of when you’ve gone above and beyond in the workplace and exceeded your targets. Have an elevator speech ready as an introduction to who you are and what you can do. Plan out the questions you want to ask and do a little LinkedIn digging about your interviewer. We all know how it goes: fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Never underestimate the importance of first impressions. Like it or not, you’ll be judged as soon as the recruiter sets eyes on you. Make sure it’s a positive judgement.
Arrive ten minutes before the interview. Have your references/work samples with you in good condition in a folder. Dress in smart, professional business clothes. Smile, make eye contact, and give a firm handshake. Be enthusiastic, positive and assertive. Be likeable. You don’t want to give the recruiter an easy opportunity not to hire you – make sure you make a great impression.
Questions and answers
The question and answer session is the make or break part of the interview. If you don’t perform well, the job will go to the person that does. Let the interviewer lead the session but make sure your answers are full, well-thought out and responsive. NEVER give a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Remember that you can ask questions throughout, not just at the end of the interview.
Nobody wants to work with someone who comes across as dull, shy or unengaging. At the same time, nobody wants to work with a cocky know-it-all. Strike up a good balance between being friendly and formal, give examples of your skills without boasting and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through. Always remember that skills can be learnt and you will ultimately be hired on your culture fit and mind-set – show the recruiter who you are and just what you can do!
Close the deal
Remember that you’re being considered against other candidates and will need to go that extra mile to impress. The recruiter won’t stop their consideration straight after the interview so make sure you stay in their mind.
This doesn’t mean bombarding the company with annoying calls and emails every day. After the interview, just send the interviewer a quick email as that final touch. Show appreciation for their time, reaffirm your enthusiasm and interest in the job and then wait to hear back. It really could make all the difference in closing the deal.
The candidate who wows at the interview is the one who will get the job. Follow these five steps and make sure you don’t fall at the first hurdle.