How to make any interview an easy interview! Part 1
As a recruiter I can’t tell you how many times I have put forward the “perfect” candidate and they have fallen down at interview. Like everything in the job seeking realm, there is a process and a general set of rules to follow. Unfortunately a great many people either don’t know the basic rules or have been fortunate enough to avoid the level of exposure to job interviews that would allow then to really hone their skills.
6 Ways To Make Any Interview An Easy Interview (1-3)
1) First impressions count
Be on time. There’s really slim to zero excuse for being late. Short of some kind of national disaster which would obviously have impacted not only every other interviewee but also the interviewer, there’s just not a good enough reason short of your own death (which would then also probably hinder your chances of employment anyway) to be even seconds late.
The majority of time you will be up against other applicants, and they won’t be late. Many interviewers will immediately disqualify for the position for lateness and at absolute best you’re starting from a really low point and have an uphill struggle on your hands to fix it. It’s just not worth it.
Before you attend the interview, look up the location and plan your route in advance. Ideally, travel the route at the time you’d have to do so for the interview. See what the access is like, is parking easy? Have a look around for a coffee shop or the like in the vicinity. It makes far more sense to arrive in the vicinity an hour early and go and have a relax and a drink rather than aiming to be 10 minutes early and hitting delays which then turn the journey into the stress ride from hell. Even if you do make it on time you won’t be in the best shape possible mentally for your interview.
2) Do your homework!
In today’s world of internet and every company in the known universe having a web presence there is no excuse for not doing some research before you turn up to be interviewed. There are a few things that you’re really looking for.
Firstly you should be looking to get a feel for the company and its culture. Almost every company these days will have some kind of “about us” and/or mission statement published. Take note of the language they use to describe themselves, and look to use that same kind of terminology during your interview. Have a look at their recent news or press release to give you some snippets of information to seed the interview with. It can also be a good idea to have a look at their latest financial results.
At some point in the interview you will have the opportunity to make it known that you have done your homework by talking about some of the information you have unearthed. They may make it easy for you by asking something as straightforward as “What do you know about the company”, or it may be that you can relate to the information you have learned when a question like “What is it that most interests you about this job” type of question.
Either way, the opportunity to display your knowledge WILL arise, and the expectation of the interviewer WILL be that you have done the research. Again, showing that you have done your research shows that you’re a professional and again, that you have taken the interview and the company seriously.
Additionally, given the prevalence of social media and things like linked-in and Facebook, it’s also relatively easy to look people as well as companies. Often when an interview is booked you will be given the name of the interviewer, and even if you are not, it’s not hard to ask. Armed with this information you should make some efforts to find out about the person about to interview you.
Looking up this information can have multiple uses. Firstly, regardless of anything else, your interviewer is also a human being. A big part of being successful at interviews comes from being liked by the interviewer and the easier way to make that happen quickly is by building rapport. This can be done by establishing areas of commonality between you and them. This is where your research can help. Even just showing that you have bothered to find out more about them as well as the company makes them feel important and is a flattering thing to do.
3) Look the part
There’s an old saying round my way that when it comes to job hunting and even just to people in general, “an ounce of image is worth a pound of talent”. As I mentioned earlier, people set mental expectations in various situations. Looking the part does a great deal to confirm these expectations thereby putting people at ease and relaxing them. Equally, not looking the part can do a great deal to make people feel uneasy and start setting alarm bells off.
You’re far more likely to feel comfortable about your forthcoming surgery if the clean shaven and smart suited consultant about to perform the operation, is giving you measured and comforting advice, as opposed to if you’re being confronted by something looking like the lost member of ZZ Top looking like he’s been dragged through a hedge backwards, wearing a stained boiler suit and waving a scalpel about. It may well be that the first chap is a used car salesman who was just walking by and that the Duck Dynasty reject is the most highly qualified surgeon on the planet, the right image will affect how people feel about you.
Always dress appropriately. What exactly appropriately is can vary from profession to profession or environment to environment. This is part of the reason for researching the company in advance, as you can get a feel for what you’re about to walk into. The key here is to look the part for the job you are being interviewed for.
When it comes to interviews it’s really hard to beat a professional business suit (and tie if you’re male). Dressing smartly and professionally sends a message that firstly you’re a professional person who can be relied upon, and secondly that you take the interview and the interviewer/s as something that is important to you. Shine the shoes, well pressed shirt or blouse, no comedy day-glow (or white for that matter) socks or Homer Simpson tie.
The rest is just basic personal hygiene stuff. Have a shave or trim the beard, get the hair in order (if you’ve got any left), have a shower and don’t go mad on the cologne/perfume. You just want to look like a professional person who takes pride in themselves and by implication will take pride in the way they act in a job.
Stay tuned for part 2!