Job interviews can be a nerve wracking experience. Follow our tips on how to impress at a job interview and get your dream position.
As we all know, competition for good jobs is tough. If you’re worked hard enough to land a job interview, you need a strategy to give an accomplished performance when you meet the hiring manager.
People liken attending a job interview with going to the dentist: everyone’s got a horror story! It’s taken me years to master my nerves but I’m finally at the point where I can predict with some certainty what will be discussed and the key messages I should communicate. You can get to that point more quickly than I did by following these tips:
Job Interview Tips
You might think that’s a strange opener but I fully believe that too much preparation will make you sound stilted and unnatural. I used to memorise certain phrases and facts as if I was facing an exam so that I would be able to regurgitate them at the right time.
The key to a successful job interview is sounding confident, relaxed and knowledgeable, even if you’re actually quaking inside. If you depend too much on set examples or rehearsed answers, you risk becoming flustered if the questions don’t match. When it comes to preparation, you should focus more on understanding the company’s values, activities and how the role in question fits them.
Recognise That What the Eye Sees Counts.
Obviously, you need to dress smartly and present yourself well. If you’re worried about being lost in a sea of suits, jazz up your outfit with a bright handkerchief, handbag or scarf. Injecting a little creativity into your interview attire will tell recruiters that you’re serious but that you’re not like everyone else.
Body language is even more crucial in a job interview. We all know that we should maintain eye contact, smile and use open gestures but we often have mannerisms of which we’re oblivious. These include repeating the same phrase, using our hands too much or laughing loudly to relieve tension. Ask your closest friends about the habits you have. Once you’re aware of them, you can reduce their impact in a job interview situation.
Sell Your Biggest Achievements.
Find a way of including the work of which you’re most proud, even if you’re not asked this directly. Examples should start with a problem or target, explain how you (and the team) approached it and describe what the outcome was. The more specific you are, the more impressive your answer will appear to the hiring manager.
Always pick examples about which you really care. Your passion and commitment will shine through as you talk, giving the impression that you are motivated, a self-starter and an asset to any company.
Be Ready to Deal with the ‘Killer’ Questions.
Hiring managers love to ask questions in a job interview that will throw candidates, even if they don’t tie in to the job’s core competencies. Some of the usual suspects I’ve encountered include:
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
- Tell me about a time when you failed and what you learned.
- Why should I give you this job?
The problem with these questions is that there isn’t really a ‘right’ answer and each interviewer may have a different idea of what candidates should tell them. The best way to approach them is to highlight your key abilities and ambitions while acknowledging areas in which you want to learn. If you’ve researched the company’s culture before the job interview, you should be able to answer without contradicting the key qualities that the company values.
Make Sure That you Ask Questions.
Hiring managers are always impressed by candidates who ask relevant questions that get them thinking. When you’re preparing questions, don’t opt for topics that are general and that might be covered during the job interview. Let’s face it: saying ‘I did have a number of questions but you’ve already answered them’ sounds a bit weak.
Dig deep into the company’s website and find questions around its objectives and customers. Asking questions on how senior managers deal with changes in market conditions or other challenges make you look professional and interested in the company’s future.
Do you have any amazing job interview tips to pass on to others? We’d love to hear them.