It’s a shame, but even the best candidates sometimes fail at interview stage simply because they do not prepare properly and don’t know what to expect.
The Five P’s – Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. There are more literal examples out there, but just remember that the interview is not the time to wing it. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be. So, here are a few simple points for you to commit to memory:
- Research the company and the interviewer – make Google and LinkedIn your friends
- Dress to Impress. Coordinate your colours. Nothing outrageous. And leave the novelty tie where it belongs – in the drawer
- Plan your route and allow plenty of time to arrive. Never, ever be late. Ever.
- Be aware of your body language. Adopt a good posture and make sure that you smile! Despite what you have read, do not attempt to mirror the interviewer’s actions. He will call security.
- Make sure you have studied the job description, and make notes of any points you are not clear on
Prepare to back up and expand on your CV. This is your moment. Take it.
- Transferable skills and contacts are the most important factors to highlight. Imagine you are the interviewer.What would you want to hear?
- Communicate as positively as possible, and don’t use weak prepositions. Use, “I can” and “I believe” rather than “I could” or “I feel.” Practice on your friends
- Be confident and outgoing, but don’t interrupt the interviewer. It’s very rude
- Humour is important, but leave your book of one-liners at home and be yourself
If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. It’s what sensible people do.
Always prepare questions to ask at interview. It’s polite and constructive, and it will demonstrate your interest in both the position and the company. At the end of the interview, always recap and close, just like any other meeting. Something simple, like, “Based on what we’ve discussed today, what are the next steps in the process?”
The following are typical interview questions that you should absolutely be prepared to answer, so rehearse something relevant to your target employer:
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would your current manager describe you?
- What motivates you?
- Why are you leaving your current role?
- What skills and expertise do you have for this job?
- What do you know about our company?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Give an example of how you handled an objection and turned it into a mutual advantage.
Always have your own questions ready. Interview the interviewer, but don’t interrogate him. Try these:
- How long have you been with the company? What are the best things about being here?
- What are the 3 prime differentiators of the company? Why do your customers choose you over your competitors?
- What are the opportunities for career progression during the next 3 years?
- What training opportunities would be available to me once I start here?
- How has this position been created? What’s the background?
- What can you tell me about the team and the people that I will be working with?
- How long will it take to make a final decision, and what is your selection criteria?
Well done for getting this far, and good luck with your interview! Remember that there is no such thing as a wasted meeting. Always leave the door open for the next stage – it’s not just sales people who should close the deal, you know.