In How to Ace Your Job Interview, we look at ways to maximise the impression you make at interview so that you can stand out from the crowd.
You’ve submitted a great CV and have an interview. You’ve done your research. Now is when the hard work comes into play. The interview is the opportunity to improve on the paper impression. It’s where your CV transforms into¦ you. Here w offer practical suggestions to deliver the perfect interview. How to Ace Your Job Interview, isn’t about doing anything extreme or out of the ordinary, it’s about using skills you have and reinforcing the small but important things we may forget due to nerves on the day.
1. SHOW YOUR INTEREST
Maintaining eye contact and using appropriate body language demonstrates that you’re interested. An interviewer can be positively influenced by up to 55% by your body language: the right postures and gestures can help you come across smart, open, engaging, less stressed. Nowadays organisations don’t just buy into your ability to do the job, but also your ability to fit into the team or culture of the business. Making a positive and lasting first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic. Remember, be yourself, but be the best version of yourself possible! The interviewer will tell you their name, so use it when you shake hands to say goodbye. You’re not being over-familiar, you’re being professional and polite. Make sure to thank them for their time and the opportunity.
2. DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF
As you did when preparing your CV, think about what your USP is and try as much as possible to differentiate yourself or set a hook. You may be up against a number of people for the role and at the end of a long day; interviewers may find it hard to remember you.
3. RAPPORT BUILDS RELATIONSHIPS
Use what your research uncovered in common with the interviewer. Maybe you’ve worked for the same employer in the past? Went to the same college? Have similar sporting interests? The interviewer could be your new direct report, so it’s important that they feel a connection with you. Avoid making negative points: if you don’t have a particular skill or experience, avoid saying you don’t, can’t etc., and instead focus on your ability to grow and develop those skills.
4. LISTEN TO THE QUESTION
You want to know How to Ace Your Job Interview? Listen! Too candidates make this mistake, rushing to answer questions and “sell” themselves. Really listen to what you are being asked! Take your time to mentally process the question, and if you are unsure, ask for clarification.
5. ¦AND ANSWER IT (AND ONLY IT)
Respond clearly and concisely. Use an engaging tone to keep the interviewer’s attention. They may not be familiar with the type of company you are working for now, so be prepared to contextualize your answers and explain the company structure, divisions and your current role. Avoid jargon, acronyms or esoteric language.
6. SUPPORT YOUR ANSWERS WITH EXAMPLES
Provide active, complementary examples with each answer you give. Think of the arc of each ‘story’: how the business problem was discovered, the solution found and implemented, any difficulties encountered along the way, and the successful, measurable outcome for the company.
7. PREPARE SOME SMART QUESTIONS
Don’t ask questions that you could have answered yourself with Google! You will give the impression that you are simply going through the motions and aren’t invested in the role. This is not the time to enquire about lunch breaks and working hours; this represents an opportunity to ask meaningful questions that dig deep into the organisation. Ask questions around the potential career trajectory within the business for the role, what will one be expected to achieve in three, six, nine months’ time etc. As long as you don’t completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember your conversation as a nice change of pace for them.
8. SHOW RESPECT
Again, you’d be surprised at what people don’t notice they’re doing out of habit. Check that your phone is off, keep your hands out of your pockets and don’t chew gum or check your watch. Make sure your sunglasses, keys, phone etc. aren’t on the table in front of you.
The average interview time is one hour. You will be speaking for approximately 80% of that time, so if you are offered a glass of water accept it graciously!
When you do ace that interview and secure the position, you’ll need to prepare to leave your current role, consult How to Resign Professionally.