Bringing your best face to an interview!
The interview! First there is the excitement when you receive the call to attend the interview; however the nervousness can begin shortly after. Nonetheless, amidst anxiety you are expected to present your best during this first interaction. Question is, how can this be done? Furthermore, what should you anticipate? Even though interviews and interviewers will differ, your preparation can make a fundamental difference in making a great lasting impression!
Step 1 – Do your research
You’ve sent out many applications and finally get a request for an interview, but you know very little about the company itself; do your research! This could include visiting the website if there is an online presence and reading up on the background of the company. What do they identify as their fundamental role as an organization? What services and/or products do they offer?
What is the aim in doing this you may ask? Firstly, you should anticipate questions from the interviewer about the company and be ready to competently answer them. Secondly, this research should enable you in articulating how you plan to contribute to the organization and what qualities you possess that could directly benefit the business.
Step 2 – Prepare Questions
Go prepared to ask your interviewer questions. Interviewers will most probably brief you on the potential role and what it may entail, however, building on the step above, you can create questions about the business and the specific role for which you are being interviewed. Remember to listen carefully to the questions asked and ask the interviewer to restate the question if you are confused. There may be questions you formulate during the interview as well, do not be afraid to ask them.
Asking questions, especially specific to the business and its operations, conveys interest, which can definitely set you apart from other candidates. Be mindful however, not to speak for long periods and avoid rambling.
Step 3 – Dress the Part
It is very important that you present yourself professionally and this includes what you wear. Whatever attire is chosen should be appropriate for the environment and well fitted; neither too tight nor overly baggy. Your attire should be in keeping with what you would wear if you are chosen for the job. Choose what you will wear in advance, this lessens the amount of things which you may have to worry about on the interview date.
Now the preparation is over and the day is here! Even though the following may be obvious they are still crucial to note.
Take necessary documents – Take an updated copy of your curriculum vitae and/or the job application form in the event that any information may have changed since your submission. It is also wise to have on hand your references and their contact information.
Be on time – Being late will not impress your interviewers and establishes a bad precedent before they have met you. Try where possible, to arrive ten or fifteen minutes prior to the scheduled time. This may also aide in easing your nerves as you will most likely be afforded the opportunity to settle yourself before the interview begins.
Turn your phone off – Interruptions by your phone are a definite no during the interview. Not only is it disturbing but it can be quite discourteous. Give the interviewers your full attention at all times.
Interviewees should remain cognizant that a request for an interview does not mean you have got the job. What it does convey however, is that the recruiters have identified academic and/or other qualities via your application which may make you a good candidate. Your most important job during an interview should be to bring those qualities to life. It is essential to remain professional whilst doing so, but remember, interviewers are often hoping to gauge your personality type during this first interaction. The old adage ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is quite fitting under this heading.