When you’re in the process of applying for jobs, it may feel like securing the job interview is the difficult part. While a foot in the door (or a face on the zoom screen) is a step in the right direction, it’s how the interview goes that will really determine whether you get the position or not.
There’s never a second chance to make a first impression, so follow these 10 P’s to ensure your next job interview is a breeze.
Being prepared helps to calm your nerves and will ensure you come across confidently in the interview. If you’ve researched the company and show interest in both the company and the position you’re applying for, it displays initiative and your genuine interest in working there.
With the majority of interviews taking place digitally these days, this may not be such an issue. However, if you are interviewing face-to-face, plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Arriving on time or a few minutes early shows you have good time management skills. If it’s an online interview, there could be unforeseen complications which companies will have grace for, but test and re-test your digital set-up beforehand so you know you’ve done all you can to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
3. Phone is a no-no
Make sure your phone is out of sight and turned on silent. Your attention needs to be 100% focused on the interview and the distraction of a phone call or text message will not only break your concentration but comes off as unprofessional as well. If your job interview is being conducted online, find a quiet spot away from children, pets and all other distractions.
4. Politeness over profanity
While it’s important to build a rapport with your interviewer, from the way you dress to the way you talk, it’s best to keep things formal. That means showing respect and keeping your manner professional by avoiding profanities, even if the interviewer uses them.
5. Past stays in the past
Just like you wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, badmouth your ex on a first date with someone new, make sure you don’t talk down your former boss in an interview. No matter how true the things you have to say about them are, your comments will only have the undesired effect of raising unnecessary questions about you in your interviewer’s mind. There should be some positives to find about your former company and boss, and in a situation like this you’re better off focusing on those.
6. Position yourself as an asset
“Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?” A common question asked in interviews, but a tricky one to answer. “In five years’ time I see myself doing your job.” Will only alienate and threaten the interviewer, the opposite of what you want to achieve. Make it clear you are ambitious and see yourself excelling within the company, but not at the expense of the interviewer’s current position or job. Leave your ego at the door and talk about the experience you hope to gain at the company and the goals you hope to achieve as you prove yourself worthy of more responsibility over time.
A job interview is a conversation, an opportunity for the interviewer to get to know you so it goes without saying you will be expected to do a fair amount of the talking. However, don’t feel pressure to do all the talking, you are also there to learn which means listening is just as important an interview skill as talking is. Make sure to not interrupt when the other person is talking, maintain good eye contact and really listen to what they are saying.
8. Plot and plan
Have at least one or two questions lined up about the company or the role. It helps if one of them is quite broad, about the run of the office or team culture, so it won’t get answered during the course of the interview. However, if all your questions are inadvertently answered, you can mention them anyway, for example, “I was going to ask if I’d be responsible for monthly budgeting but fortunately you’ve already covered that, so I think I’m up to speed.” This shows you put some thought into the interview beforehand.
9. Postpone policy talk
Leave the more meaty topics, like the company’s leave policy for the second round interview. It’s also not a great idea to bring up salary expectations too early on. If they are interested, you’ll be invited back and if salary hasn’t been broached already by then, that would be a good time to ask your recruitment manager about the best way to raise the topic.
Whatever happens, remember interviewing is a skill, and like all skills practice makes perfect. If things don’t go well for you in an interview don’t get discouraged, remind yourself you’re walking away with some great experience which you can implement next time around. Each interview takes you one step closer to landing your dream job.
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