deally, an interview gives you the chance to impress your future employer with your qualifications and experience, leaving them looking forward to the day you join the team and help them take the company to the next level.
But between offensive CV mistakes (61% of managers claim they would dismiss applications with typos), crippling nerves and neglected research (probably because all your time has been taken up being stressed rather than focused), what once seemed like a golden opportunity can quickly dissipate and leave candidates feeling even more startled coming out of the interview room than they did before walkingin. Passion, enthusiasm, and the right qualifications are always essential for highly-competitive roles, but even the most engaging candidate can trip-up on a simple error.
It was the Chinese philosopher Confucius who claimed that if you choose a job you love, “you will never have to work a day in your life.” Read our 7 Golden Rules of Success to make sure that once you get invited to interview for a job which would make you jump out of bed on Monday mornings (from excitement, not because of snoozing the alarm once too many times), you are sure to present the best version of yourself to the interviewer.
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Research your role, the market & competitors
Learn how your role fits into the bigger picture. Staying up to date with any publicity or advertised projects means you can fill gaps in the conversation and build rapport with the interviewer. Researching the company’s competitors and state of the wider market also enables you to construct your own genuine opinions on what is happening and how the company is connected. Identify the company’s wants and needs and the relevance of your role, says Andy Teach, author of ‘From Graduation to Corporation’; “Study them so that you can talk in the interview about what’s going on with the company now.”
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Plan your pitch
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Dress to Impress
Obvious but often overlooked. Your image should reflect your work – well-prepared, put-together, neat and tidy. You have one chance to make a first impression so make it impeccable. Wash, press and style your outfit beforehand and have it hanging and ready for when the day comes. The devil is in the detail, so polished shoes, clean and modest jewellery and tidy hair and make-up all count. As Diane Gottsman summarises, “it’s always better to arrive slightly overdressed than underdressed”. Do not overdo this – strong perfume, excessive make-up and bold jewellery or accessories can be distracting and leave the interviewer with a stronger impression of your taste in jewellery and perfume, rather than what you’ve said.
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Check your body language
“Leaning isn’t just a metaphorical way to get ahead” says Mashable’s Yohana Desta, “it’s a legitimate way to portray good body language.” Construct an image of how you’d like to come across – off a fictional character or your real-life idol – and emulate it. Always start with a strong handshake, make eye contact, smile and gesticulate with your hands to create a feeling of conversation, as opposed to interrogation. Amy Cuddy’s recent research into the ‘Power Pose’ demonstrates how something as simple as posing like Wonder Woman for two minutes before walking into the interview room can drain negativity and engage your body in naturally positive mannerisms. James Clear also advocates, the power of positive body language, arguing that it reduced stress and boosts confidence.
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ATQ- Answer the question
Make sure everything you say has purpose and is relevant to the question. Attack the question first, then expand upon it with examples or comparisons. Pausing and thinking about the question is better than rushing; it’s always better to show you care about taking the time to address a query properly, in order to achieve the right result. AIG Portfolio Manager Julie Schultz noted that gaps in your knowledge should be addressed with honesty, if you don’t know the exact answer, draw on relevant information that you have to hand and engage in a discussion to leave your interviewer with something of value.
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Address your weaknesses constructively
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Address any potential hints of not getting the job with complete confidence – employers who verbalise any of your weaknesses often do so to hear your response. Fire back with a statement of your professional competency and personal compatibility; reiterate how your work-history and skills set is perfect for the job, followed up with how your personality and experiences are complimentary to this. This is also essential when transitioning between industries; your intelligence will be directly measured on your ability to apply past knowledge to new situations. We live in a world where the only certain thing is change so ensure the interviewer knows you have the resiliency to adapt with the times and to continue moving forward whilst learning.