Before the Interview
• Get a good nights sleep before the interview.
• Make sure you have written down the name of the interviewer, office address, contact numbers, and planned your route to the office.
• Aim to arrive at the reception of the office 10-15 minutes before the interview is due to commence so that you are not flustered or rushing to get there on time.
• Breathe slowly and calmly and relax.
• Remember that you have prepared in advance so feel confident about yourself and that you can only do your best.
We all make our initial judgements about someone within 30 seconds of meeting them, which is why making a good first impression is critical during an interview as you won’t have a second chance to do this. Psychologists have researched this subject for years to show what % contribution to the first impression judgement is. The following can be used as a guide:
55% What people see (appearance, posture, body language, facial expressions, eye contact)
38% What people hear (tone, pitch, pace, articulation, volume)
7% The words people use
As you can see, what you look and sound like are initially far more important than what you actually say to make your first impression.
The ability to listen is important during an interview as by paying attention, this gives you time to absorb and understand, and not misinterpret a question.
You can demonstrate active listening by adopting the following:
• Tilt your head to one side to show you are listening.
• Make eye contact with the interviewer.
• Seek clarification if you do not quite understand the question.
• Listen to the whole question before you provide an answer.
• Don’t jump in if the interviewer is just pausing.
This is when your interview preparation to answers to competency based questions comes into play!
• Take time before you answer a question, do not rush in with the first thing that comes to mind.
• Stay calm and collected, slow down the pace of your speech so that you sound confident and articulate. This also helps you calm your nerves and not ramble.
• Avoid using “Umm” and Ahh.”
• Be concise and to the point with your answers. You can observe the interviewers body language to see if they are engaged or not with what you are saying.
• Sound confident and use open body language.
• Project enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
• Frame your answers around actual experiences as opposed to opinions.
• Have examples to back up your answers.
• Once you have understood the question being asked, ensure that your answer covers your skills, experience, interpersonal qualities and achievements in that area.
• Tell the truth. If you do not know an answer it is better to admit it than give a wrong answer.
• If you are being grilled or you are finding it difficult to read your interviewer, do not get flustered and panic. Instead continue in a confident, enthusiastic, articulate and professional manner.
• Smile – when appropriate! Not continuously or you will come across as a little strange or not taking things seriously!
Questions to Ask
You should always have about 2-5 questions to ask, even if the interviewer covers some of these points during the interview. What are appropriate and good question areas to ask about?
• Company structure and reporting lines.
• The team.
• Company/Department plans for the future.
• Industry performance and outlook.
• Reason for the role.
• Performance appraisals.
• The interviewers background.
• Avoid asking about money, holidays and sick pay during interviews. You can go through these at offer stage, or if you obtained the interview via a recruitment consultancy, they can find this out on your behalf.
Closing the Interview
Ensure that you end the interview positively to reinforce the good first impression you made initially. Always thank the interviewer for their time and let them know that you are interested and enthusiastic about the job opportunity and the company. Do not ask them how you have performed during the interview or pressurize the interviewer for a decision.
For most permanent vacancies there is usually more than one interview. If you are invited back then this confirms that you have made a good impression during the first and demonstrated skills, experience and interpersonal skills that are suited to the job and company.
Go in with the same positive attitude and prepare again for the next interview, however try to refine your interview techniques further.