Today I wanted to cover a topic that is sometimes glossed over yet quite important. It is said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. This can be particularly relevant when it comes to the interview process. I have listed below 7 tips to help achieve a more successful interview outcome. Some may seem simple or obvious but they are all relevant.
It is important to understand, if you are at the stage of sitting in an interview you have successfully passed the first stage of screening; you have likely made a ‘short list’. Many advertised jobs receive a number of applicants, the resume and cover letter is the first screening.
A resume will provide the potential employer with insight as to whether you have the relevant qualifications and experience. Most roles will require a varying degree of qualifications, skills and experience. A resume will help the interviewer to quickly sort applicants.
So if you are being interviewed it is somewhat safe to think you have sufficient qualifications and experience. What is likely to be the focus of the interview is the qualities you possess and how you relate and interact.
This is where the following tips can help to create a positive and successful interview experience.
1. Grooming – it may seem a redundant issue but ensuring you are well groomed is important. By grooming I mean clean, neat and tidy. If you wear makeup perhaps use natural and minimal tones and colours. An interviewer is trying to gain insight into whom ‘you’ are. If you are excessively covered with makeup this is made more difficult. Facial hair in its many varied forms is often fashionable. For an interview it maybe prudent to ensure it is neat and groomed appropriately. By all means keep your facial hair; just be sure you are groomed.
2. Fragrances – Following on from grooming, in the interview setting heavy scented perfume or aftershave is not advisable. Whilst it may be your favourite, it may not be the interviewers. Deodorant and arriving clean and fresh will suffice.
3. No props – By this I mean chewing gum, lollies or bottles of soft drink. Be sure you are clean and fresh (perhaps a mint before the interview). Taking a bottle of water into an interview is ok. If you are offered tea or coffee that is ok. (And obviously, turn your phone off, not just to vibrate.)
4. Stay on course – When you are asked a question, answer it. Don’t stray too far from the subject matter of the question. The interviewer likely has a number of interviews to perform, barraging them with irrelevant stories and answers will likely agitate interviewer.
5. Let the interviewer finish – You may be eager but do not cut the interviewer off from speaking. Letting them finish shows that you are listening to them and not pre-empting the question and answering with a rehearsed sound bite.
6. Ask relevant questions – By relevant I mean questions that apply to real world scenarios in the prospective role. If you are serious about the job, then you will naturally have questions about what the role will entail.
7. Be honest – Presenting yourself, your skills and experience in the best light is common sense. However be sure that you do it honestly. Avoid the temptation to embellish. By being honest you avoid the trap of having to remember the ‘white lies.’ Be up front and down the line and you won’t have to be concerned with additional stress.
If you have interview tips please feel free to share them with in the comments below.