January 6th 2022
Preparing for a job interview can be one of the most stressful things a person can do. You want to impress your potential employer as well as showing the best version of yourself. For some more lucrative roles, there has to be a daunting amount of time, effort and research that goes into the preparation. All while attempting to maintain a cool, calm and collected appearance.
We’ve pulled together some of our best tips on what you can do before and during your interviews to really start on the right foot with any potential employer, which can apply to any industry or vertical.
1. Research the Company – Leave No Stone Unturned
When applying for a position and securing an interview, you’ll need to brush up on your company background, processes, and (sometimes) current management. You need to understand the history of how the company came about, what their business goals are, and even any current processes they utilise in their day-to-day workings. If you know that they use a particular type of software, you can read up a little on that too.
It’s best to go into the interview armed with as much knowledge as possible about the company, showing your interest in them as a business and your enthusiasm to learn. You can learn the names of a few competitors, and maybe even prepare to discuss how they’re doing it wrong compared to the company you’re applying to. Sometimes, flattery will get you everywhere.
2. First Impressions Matter
This tip can truly work anywhere in life. But since we’re talking about job interviews, make sure to set the tone of the interview from the beginning as a positive one. You’ll never get the chance at a first impression again. You could be but one of dozens of interviews they have that day, so leaving a lasting impression is key. From the moment you enter the building, you could be under scrutiny, so always be sure to have a smile on your face and a can-do attitude.
It’s not just the interviewer that you’ll need to impress, it’s everyone you come into contact with. From the front receptionist to anyone you pass in the halls. You can never be sure that the person you shared the elevator ride with isn’t the managing director!
3. What Are You Bringing to the Interview?
It goes without saying that you should be fully equipped when you attend your interview. Some employers can be concerned when candidates turn up without a notebook for taking notes and feedback.
Here’s some quick tips on what to prepare and bring to your interview:
A pen and a notebook
You should always be prepared to take some notes during your interview. This being said, try not to over-do it, and maintain as much eye contact as possible when answering questions. You may need these notes and feedback to prepare your follow-up thank you.
Copies of your CV/Resume
The hiring manager may have seen your CV, but it could be that your interviewer is not the hiring manager themselves. Go prepared with a few extra copies of your CV, just in case you need to clarify any details, or bring someone up to speed on your abilities or experience.
A copy of your interview questions
It’s always good practice to go to the interview with questions that you’ll like to ask the employer. They could be about the office culture, questions about working for the company or possibly salary inquiries (best not to lead with this though). Write these down on paper, so you’re not reading from a smartphone.
A bag for all of your other items
You’ll need to appear organised, so make sure to have a single bag with any other items you may need. Employers may sometimes offer you a glass of water or a hot beverage, but if they don’t, keep a bottle of water in your bag (just in case you get a dry mouth when talking). Make sure the bag fits in with your surroundings if entering into a corporate setting – neon green may stand out a little too much.
4. Prepare Questions Ahead of Time
As discussed previously, it’s a great idea to come prepared with a list of questions you may want to ask the employer. It’s more than just grabbing a few ‘typical’ interview questions from friends, or the internet though. Make them personal to the role you’re interviewing for, or about the company itself. This shows them that you understand exactly what it is that you’ve applied for, and you’ve taken the time to be proactive in your research.
When asking your questions to the interviewer, make sure to deliver them in a polite and inquisitive manner. Focus on the positive aspects of the role in your questions, rather than any possible downsides that you may have picked-up on. Positivity in any setting is the preferred goal.
5. Practice Your Interviewing Style
Much like asking questions, you’ll need to be on the ball when answering them too. If you practice with a friend or family member beforehand, you’ll be able to go into the interview much more prepared. If you’re having to present slides, ensure you know each slide like the back of your hand, and can answer questions about them flawlessly.
In a way, interviews are a form of public speaking, which many people have an aversion to. It’s a difficult skill to master, but if you’re able to master it, you’ll have a better chance at landing your dream role. Record yourself and your answers and look back at it. This will instantly tell you where you might go wrong, and work on those parts first. Also, don’t slouch – it’s bad for your back!
6. Sell Your Key Strengths and Skills
Interviews are the best place to talk up your strengths and defining attributes that you could bring to a role. Remember, you’re essentially selling yourself here. What do you do well? Do you have any transferrable skills from previous roles? What are they?
Make sure to focus on the good – not the bad and the ugly. Potential employers don’t want to hear about the times you messed up, they want to hear where you’ve excelled. Liken your strengths and skills to the purpose of the role you’re applying for, and how you’d be the perfect fit for the job. Give succinct and informative answers about your strengths and try not to ramble too much. Shorter and sweeter answers will keep the interviewer more engaged.
7. Body Language and Speech
Sometimes it may be obvious if you’re uncomfortable. Your body language can tell an interviewer a thousand things about you, and all you did was cross your arms. Keep your body open, forward and engaged with what the interviewer is saying. Make eye contact and smile frequently. Non-verbal communication is just as powerful as your spoken tone and demeanour.
When it comes to your speech, avoid swearing or vulgar language at all costs. Enunciate your words properly, there’s nothing worse than being asked to repeat yourself. The tone of your voice can also give away a lot of clues to how you handle situations, so try to keep to an inquisitive and engaged voice.
If recruiting or hiring remotely, it may be more difficult to gauge certain body language, but you should always be aware of your posture, no matter where you’re interviewing from.
8. Be Positive and Upbeat While Answering Truthfully
Finally, going hand-in-hand with tip #7, stay upbeat and positive throughout the interview. Some interviews can last a long time, so this will be a testament to your endurance. If you manage the whole interview without appearing fatigued, and maintain a positive attitude, it will show the interviewer how easy you are to work with. People want to work with others that they like, after all.
If you are answering questions in a truthful manner, you’ll have nothing to worry about, and will appear authentic and easy-going. Try to tie your answers back to your skillset, where your strengths are, and you’ll have a lot to talk about without having to lie. It’s best not to slander any former employees or colleagues, as interviewers will assume you regularly talk negatively of people you’ve worked with previously. This can break an interview completely.
So, there are some of our best tips on what you can do to smash your future interviews. We hope you’ve taken something positive away from this and can use some of these tips as a checklist of what to do right!
If you’re in the market for some new space for your company, head over and take a look at our serviced offices or our managed offices and use our free search tool to find great spaces in your area today!