You've found it. A Job. No, the job. You've sent in your application and they want you to come down for an interview. So, you have two choices: 1) get psyched up like you did the one time before your maths exam, suck down some Fanta, throw on your 'lucky' socks and stroll in with the fuzzy halo of underslept/overworked buzzing above your head; or 2) follow our tips to having an interview you and your prospective employer can be proud of, regardless of whether or not the job is right for you.
Here, for your job-searching-pleasure, our Top Ten Interview Tips:
1. Preparation, Exhaltation:
Getting ready for an interview happens far before your morning shower. To show-off your commitment to the job, we recommend getting down and dirty with your prospective company, by researching its mission statement, goals, intentions, and history. No matter what you're going for, be it a weekend job at your favourite store, or a high-flying media job, we suggest you know who you work for (and that you want to work for them), before you step foot in the conference room. You can usually find the information online, or at least research media articles on the company.
2. Groom Thyself
Whoever told you that first impressions make or break was right. We hate to be so superficial, but you can't ignore smell, hygiene, haircut and professionalism when meeting a prospective employee for the first time. People don't want to work with smelly, dishevelled people. Period. This also goes for overly-hygenic people, who pour on the cologne or coordinate their bag/keys/socks/jacket/hairband in bright pink. So take your shower, put on a bit of perfume or cologne, and make for a professional, personable appearance, without too much show. Remember: you want to work with them, not date them.
The first handshake and eye-contact is an essential barometer of your interview, so do them well. Handshakes should be firm but not bone-crushing, made with solid eye-contact to the person you're meeting. We suggest practicing this on people you already know, so they can tell you honestly if your hand is more a cold, lucid fish than an acting appendage.
4. Telling is More than Talking
Pleasantries aside, we suggest getting right down to business with an interview. Usually the employer will have an introduction and a strict agenda of things they want to talk about, so save the football scores for afterwards, and begin your interview with more effective body and spoken language. You should lean into the conversation, using simple, engaging hand gestures and nods. Keep eye-contact with your interviewers, and keep answers simple but fluent. You should appear relaxed but interested; avoid crossing your arms, scratching or fumbing with your clothing, touching your face or hair. Simply clasping your hands in your lap usually works fine, if you need to keep yourself from those nervous ticks.
5. The Leaving Language
Unless you're a graduate, you probably left your last job. Discussing why is often a tricky subject, but you can count on them asking you why, so you best be prepared for it. Be honest and forthright, but brief. Don't go into detail unless prompted, and remain positive. Remember: your last job will likely be a reference for you and a telling experience for your interviewers. Slagging off the old boss is not going to increase your popularity.
6. Admit the Weakness
Instead of talking yourself up, research suggests that admitting a weakness before being prompted adds support to interviewee candidates. By telling your interviewers that you need to work on technical skills or leadership, you are building a repoire beyond the general interview questions. Hopefully it will lead into a more memorable, off-the-agenda conversation.
7. You Ask The Questions
What impresses employers more than savvy answers, is savvy questions. Using your previously researched information, you can pelt interesting questions at the company itself, which will make for good, unplanned discussion and a better repoire. Ask yourself what you really want to know about the company, beyond the superficial, and use your well-known facts to bolster the questions.
8. Second the Notion
If you are invited back for a second interview, congratulations. You're likely to be one of only a small handful of candidates they want to see again, but be warned that it will be more intense. They will likely want to see what you really know, with more intense professional questions, a test or two (maths exams if you're an accountant, typing skills tests, or software quizzes), and more personal information. Put on your hard hat and double the past 7 tips, as this is perhaps the real test of your initiative.
9. Feedback Facts
After your interviews, we suggest asking either the recruitement agent or the interviewers themselves for feedback, as this can be perhaps the best indicator of ways you should improve upon. Don't be shy, and take your feedback with modesty and understanding. Remember: they're people, too, and if they're giving you feedback, at least they're helping you improve.
10. Rejection Deflection
Ok. So maybe it wasn't THE job. Maybe you didn't mesh with the boss, maybe you gave a few too many funny answers, or maybe you just didn't have enough experience. No matter what the reason was, let any rejection roll off your back and into the energy you put towards the next application. You've likely learned something for next time, and you're getting better at this whole 'interview' thing. Keep at it. Perserverance is a great quality to have.