You’ve applied for the job and great news; your brilliant CV has piqued the company’s interest – but now reality sinks in (along with some nerves) and you realize that very soon it is time for an interview! You may know the saying “first impressions count” and nowhere is this more true than in the hiring process! According to a Harvard study, it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression on another person, so there is not a moment to waste! But how do you best enable yourself to make a great first impression? We asked our recruiters for their professional advice on how to prepare and start your interview off on a good foot. Below are some points to keep in mind. Always remember – while a CV may describe you, an interview distinguishes you.
Understand and respect your own professional journey.
One of the easiest means of this is to know your CV, how it expresses your vocational narrative and how your next step fits into this. It’s important your CV is accurate to avoid being misconstrued by a question on your achievements and previous employment. It is much better to have a strong grasp on what you have done so far in your career compared to a weak understanding of something that features in your CV. Your recruiter will go through your CV with you in preparation – ask them for insight into what may be asked. It is also important to know why you’ve applied for the role and how this job ties in with your future goals. Being asked where you see yourself in 5 – 10 years is a popular question for a reason!
Find out as much as you can about the company and specific job.
Your recruiter will provide information about the company, but it is important for you to do research on your own. It is incredible how many candidates will spend years on qualifications but fail to spend time preparing for an interview. This is like having a Ferrari in the garage but leaving your house without the keys! The horsepower means nothing if you can’t get your foot in the door. Interviewers like to see that you’ve taken the time to find out about the company, and it is important to know exactly what the company does in case you get asked such a question. Not knowing what your potential employer does, does not make a good impression! You can also research the role you’ve applied for. This will help you to think of potential questions to ask during the interview.
Prepare yourself for common questions.
Your recruiter will run through basic interview questions with you, this is a great way to prepare your answers. During an interview, you want to avoid not knowing what to say where possible, so preparing for common questions such as ‘what are your strengths?’, ‘what are your weaknesses?’, ‘why do you want to work here?’ is a great way to be prepared. Knowing what to say before the time will also help you feel calmer and more relaxed during the interview.
Take steps to make yourself and the conversation as comfortable as possible.
Your recruiter will let you know who in the company you’re interviewing with, use this as your opportunity to get to know the person you’ll be speaking to. Look them up on LinkedIn and find out more about the role they play within the company. You can also use this to try to figure out what sort of questions you may be asked. If the interviewer is in Human Resources, there’s a good chance you’ll be asked culture-based questions as opposed to a Head of Department who might ask more technical questions.
Better to be an hour early than a minute late.
If you are having an in-person interview, plan how you are going to get there – what route you will take and what mode of transport you’ll use. Ensure you set your alarm to avoid oversleeping, and aim to arrive 5 – 10 minutes early to give yourself time to settle in. Due to Covid-19, more interviews are taking place online. If this is the case for you, make sure that you have a stable internet connection, and test out your camera and microphone beforehand to avoid any technical problems during the interview.
Believe in yourself!
Remember that the interview goes both ways. You need to learn about the company as much as they need to learn about you. Based on research you’ve done on the company and the role, prepare questions to ask when given a chance. It’s important to take time to think about what you need to know about the job and the company to ensure it’s the right role for you.
Closing the interview.
If this is the role for you, be sure to express your interest and thank the interviewer for their time. Your recruiter will want to find out from you how you felt the interview went, and they will provide you with feedback from the company as soon as they can. If you are asked for a second interview, be prepared for further questions about yourself and your CV. Once the interview process is over, if you are the successful candidate, your recruiter will guide you through the job offer stage to ensure a smooth transition into your new role!