Congratulations, you got the job interview! You have been shortlisted as one of the top candidates which is a great achievement. Now it’s time to turn the interview into a job offer with these great job interview tips.
Many people think they can show up to the job interview unprepared and be offered the job. Most end up disappointed. Performing in a job interview is a skill, and like all skills it requires attention. You need to prepare, practice and prepare some more. A good starting point is to read VivaLaMe’s Job Interview Preparation Guide.
Ultimately, there are three things the interviewer wants to know about you:
- Do you have the skills and ability to do the job well?
- Have you got drive, commitment and motivation to perform?
- Will you fit into the company culture and team?
You need to address these three points through:
- the way you physically present yourself,
- your behaviour during the interview,
- the way you communicate your answers,
- the content of your answers.
Job Interview Tip One: Look The Part!
You can never be too formal for a job interview. As a rule of thumb, dress slightly more formally than what the job requires.
- Neutral is best. Try to avoid anything loud or boisterous. It is nice to show some personality through a splash of colour or a quirky accessory. However if you are unsure, err on the conservative side.
- Dry-clean or wash your outfit. Make sure it is ironed with no creases
- .Polish your shoes. For a job interview I would always recommend wearing closed toe shoes. A top tip is to wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in easily.
- Don’t go overboard with jewellery as it can be distracting to you and the interviewer. Depending on the job, it may be wise to minimise facial piercings.
- Do not wear excessive perfume or aftershave. It can be overbearing, especially in smaller meeting rooms.
- Groom facial hair and wash and brush hair.
- Do not smoke or eat anything prior to the interview. You do not want to be remembered as the candidate with the bad breath!
Job Interview Tip Two: Act the Part!
Your interviewer will form an opinion of you in the first sixty seconds. This means that along with your physical presentation, the way you initially present yourself could potentially make or break your chance at the job.
With this in mind, there are a couple of important points to remember at the beginning of the interview.
Firstly, be on time. There is no acceptable excuse for being late to an interview. On the flipside, being too early can be distracting for the interviewer. Aim to be 10 minutes early and go for a coffee if you arrive any earlier.
Be nice and courteous to everyone you met. The interview begins the moment you enter the building so be friendly and professional with security officers, receptionists, the cleaner or anyone else you encounter. When I finish interviewing a candidate, I ask the opinion of everyone the candidate encountered. This gives me insight into how they could potentially interact with peers and subordinates.
Your handshake is very important. When the interviewer collects you, stand up immediately and offer your hand. Make sure your hands are not clammy (which can happen when you are nervous!). Be firm but don’t break the bones in their hands by squeezing hard. Also, keep your hand vertical as turning your hand during the handshake can come across as trying to dominate.
During the introductions, address the interviewer’s by their names and make good eye contact. If an interviewer has a difficult name to pronounce, make sure you investigate the correct pronunciation prior to the interview.
Only sit down once the interviewer has indicated where you should sit. It can be awkward if you accidentally take the interviewers seat.
Finally, make sure you turn off your mobile phone prior to entering the building. Do not put it on vibrate as the vibration can be distracting if you receive a call. As discussed, the interview begins the moment you enter the building so do not make or answer any calls while waiting for the interview to begin.
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Job Interview Tip Three – Talk The Part
Communication is complex and is more than the words you use. It is the tone of your voice, how quickly you talk, your body language and the way you listen. All of these things need to be in alignment to come across as confident and genuine.
Firstly, actively listen to the interviewer. It is easy to begin thinking about how you will answer the next question, but this can come across as being distracted and preoccupied. Concentrate on what is being said in the moment and then think about your answer. The other benefit of listening is that you may pick up additional information on the job and company that you can weave into an answer later in the interview.
Make eye contact with all the interviewer’s. It is a natural reflex to address the person who asked the question or the most senior person in the room. The problem with this is that you are alienating the other interviewers who also have input into the hiring decision. When talking, take time to alternate looking in the eyes of every interviewer.
If you have a tendency to talk fast, slow down. By talking too fast, the interviewers may miss some content in your answers. Also, if you talk slow or tend to waffle, speed up and keep your answers concise. You want to keep the interviewers engaged and not have their minds wander off and start thinking about what they will cook for dinner!
Be aware of your body language. Keep it positive by avoiding crossing your arms or legs. Turn towards your interviewers and keep yourself open. Sit upright and remember to smile.
Job Interview Tip Three – Be The Part!
This you can prepare for. By practising the answers to potential interview questions you will come across as knowledgeable and capable.
When answering any question, it is best to use the CAR technique. A good answer uses your past experiences to demonstrate your capabilities. The CAR technique is a good way to frame your answers by outlining the context of the situation, listing the actions you took and describing the result of your actions.
Stay positive. Avoid any negative comments about past employment experiences. Try to avoid any political conversations or divulging too much about your personal life.
Do not ask about salary or company benefits. This should only be discussed if the interviewer introduces the topic.
By following these job interview tips; and the advice in our Job Interview Preparation Guide; you will walk into your interview looking, acting and being the best candidate for the job!