Your preparation for an interview, and your performance in the interview, are crucial to your career prospects. Here are our tips on “how to wow” in your interview.

Preparation

The work you do BEFORE the interview is arguably the most crucial part of the whole process. An interview is like an exam: preparation is paramount! It is often the X-factor that will have you perform better than your competition.

Here are the essential steps to successful interview preparation:

  • Make sure you know the details of interview time, location and who you’ll be meeting. You may also have a job description, plus some information about the company you’re interviewing with.
  • If you have access to the Internet, research the company. Look up their website. Familiarise yourself with facts & figures, and the products & services the company offers.
  • Refresh your memory regarding important facts and figures of your own employment history. For example, if you have had a sales background, be aware of your performance figures. Think about your greatest achievements so far in both your work and personal file.
  • Your interview may well include competency based questioning. Think about what skills might be required for the role and examples from your history that you could talk about to demonstrate these core competencies.

Presentation

The impression you make starts from the moment you meet the interviewer(s) until the moment you say goodbye.

Make the best first impression you can by being well groomed in appropriate business attire, attending to all facets of your grooming, and being careful not to dress too loudly. For males, a suit is the preferred attire, but a long-sleeved shirt and tie with long trousers may also be acceptable. For females, a suit or skirt and blouse or classic dress are preferable with appropriate shoes.

Dress conservatively, until you can assess the corporate dress code at interview.

During the Interview

Remember, the interview isn’t just about the questions and answers. The whole process also takes account of your appearance, your posture, your mannerisms and the like. However, the questions and answers are a crucial part, so be prepared to give well thought-out and clear answers to questions such as these:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • What are you immediate objectives? What are your future aspirations?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What interests you in the position and/or our company?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What are your hobbies or interests? What do you do in your spare time?

Closing the Interview

The final step in the interview will usually be about any questions that you have. It’s always beneficial to ask at least a couple of questions. It shows that you are keen and inquisitive. If the interview has been comprehensive, it can often be hard to think of questions. Here are some examples that might be of use:

  • How has this vacancy come about? Can you tell me about the previous person in the role?
  • How would you describe the culture of the company?
  • What are the company’s growth plans for the future?
  • What will be the next step?

If this is your first interview with the client and you are interviewing through a recruitment consultancy, rarely will a job offer be made on the spot. However, if it is, and you feel comfortable with it, give an enthusiastic “Yes!”. On the other hand, if you feel you would like some time to think it through, politely request that of the interviewer. Commit to a definite time by which you will give an answer.

In most cases, the interviewer will close the interview without giving you much indication of where you stand. If this is the case, don’t be discouraged. Simply thank him or her warmly and re-iterate your enthusiasm for the role. You may also want to briefly restate why you want the position, and what you feel you can bring to the role and the company. Sell yourself right to the end, but do it tactfully.

Finally, take a deep breath and relax! You’ve given it your best shot, and if it’s meant to be, it will be!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Your Interview

DO arrive at your interview a couple of minutes early if possible. Being late for an interview, even if only slightly, is never acceptable and will usually ruin your chances right there and then.

DO greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and good eye contact.

DO wait until you are offered a chair before you sit down. Sit upright and maintain good, positive eye contact throughout the interview. This will show that you are listening keenly.

DO listen carefully, be sure to give direct and relevant answers to the interviewer’s questions. Giving irrelevant answers, no matter how brilliant, will not help you.

DO show enthusiasm. With interview nerves, it is easy to forget this crucial point. Take a deep breath, be conscious of your whole body language, and be keen and interested throughout the interview.

DO be honest. Answer questions truthfully, succinctly and as close to the point as possible.

DO use the questions as an opportunity to sell yourself to the interviewer. Use your answers to highlight your strengths and your suitability for the role.DO show maturity, a clear well-spoken manner and confidence in your own ability! Remember, you’re there to show that you’re the best person for the job.
DON’T give one word answers like simple Yes or No. Explain yourself in some details and give evidence to support your responses.

DON’T ramble on too much when asked a question. Even though you need to provide informative answers, you can go overboard. This can be a tricky balance to achieve sometimes, but focus on the relevant facts. DON’T speak negatively about anything if you can avoid it, especially past employers and bosses. Try to give a fair and balanced account of past experiences.

We wish you the best of luck!