You’ve got to the final hurdle, your CV has done the trick and the day of judgement is coming. Don’t leave this meeting to chance, as there’s plenty you can do to ensure that you perform to the best of your ability at the all important interview stage.
Number one has to be – turn up. Now this is not as daft as it at first seems, as turning up at the right place and at the right time is fraught with potential disaster, anxiety inducing delayed trains or missing buses, or perhaps your apparently vindictive Sat Nav might lead you completely astray. There’s nothing worse than that all knowing voice in the car telling you that “you have reached your destination,” only to find yourself on the wrong side of the motorway with 15 miles to the next intersection.
In order to avoid these stress inducing problems, plan ahead. Find out where you are going, do a practice run if possible, print out the route from googlemaps, look on google earth, and double check the address and postcode. To ensure you arrive stress free, plan to turn up 5 minutes early, if you are coming some distance then I suggest planning to arrive in the area half an hour before, so you can stop for a coffee and time your entrance perfectly.
You have the time to prepare for this interview, they already like you from what they have read, so don’t let your interviewer or yourself down at this point. There’s a stack of information out there on the internet freely available, 24/7, and so absolutely no excuse for not having done your homework on this potential employer.
I can almost guarantee that they will want to know how much you know about their company, and they will certainly make a judgement on your interest and commitment based on your prior knowledge and research. So swat up on some important facts and history of the company, and if they don’t ask, make sure you drop it into the conversation and demonstrate your interest.
How Do I look?
Think about it, just like your CV, first impressions really do count. Turn up looking like you’re not really that bothered, and don’t be surprised if this employer really isn’t bothered about employing you either. If possible take a sneaky look at the people emerging from the building prior to going for your interview. Find out what the dress code is, having said that, I would always err on the side of smart business for interview.
Don’t forget the details, polish your shoes, clean your nails, brush your hair and limit the jewellery and make up, that goes for the men and the women. Go easy on the perfume or aftershave, and at the risk of aggravating our smoking readers, I suggest you avoid having a cigarette before going in, as the aroma does linger on you and may not be to the taste of your interviewer.
How Do I Act?
Non verbal communication can be a killer, and send subliminal messages to your interviewer which can make or break your chances. A firm handshake on entering the room, and a smile always goes down well. Try to relax a little, but remain alert and attentive in your pose, by this I mean relax so that your shoulders drop down from up around your ears as a result of the tension you are feeling and let your palms rest gently in your lap. Avoid wild gesticulation and sit straight in the chair, try not to slouch which will give a non committal and disinterested message. Keep eye contact with the person you are talking to, and avert your gaze now and then to avoid looking like you are constantly staring. Again a good handshake on leaving, with a smile and a thankyou leaves the best impression possible.
It may help ease a few pre interview nerves while waiting to go into the interview room, to take a few deep breaths extending your stomach, holding the breath for a couple of seconds, and as you exhale let your shoulders relax and release some nervous tension.
Let Them Know You Care
At the end of the interview it is often interesting to discover that many interviewers are unable to judge how interested the candidate was in the job. This can be due to nerves on the part of the interviewee, and the formal setting restricting their natural enthusiasm. However, more often and more simply it’s because the person who has just been interviewed has not told this potential employer how much they would like to do this job, and work for their company. At the end of an interview I suggest that you let them know you care. A simple “Thanks for inviting me in today, and just to let you know I am very interested in this role” would suffice. If you are feeling even more positive you could offer “I was immediately interested in this job from the job description, and having been in to speak to you today, I would like to let you know that I am really enthusiastic about coming to work for you.”
If you have your own tips, I’d be pleased to hear about them to share with readers in the comments box below.