The time has come, you have been invited for an interview with who could be your future employer. Exciting of course, but how do you make a good impression? It’s all in the preparation. After all, good preparation is half the battle; especially with interviews.
The ultimate preparation
Good preparation is easier said than done. What should you pay attention to and how do you avoid getting tongue-tied? Here are some useful tips.
Know who you are talking to
Often, an invitation will mention who you have an interview with. Should this not be the case, you can always ask. This is a sign of being proactive and can work in your favour. If you know who you have the interview with, you can take a look at his/her LinkedIn profile or simply search on Google. This will give you a general impression of who you will be meeting, and you will be aware of what he/she finds important. Should their hobbies be mentioned online, do not be embarrassed to let the conversation head in that direction. You will already know a bit about what to expect and how you can best present yourself. One last tip; memorise the names. One less thing to worry about!
Know all there is to know about the vacancy
You have responded to a vacancy. It appealed to you, otherwise you would not have applied. It is strongly recommended to get familiar with the vacancy you have responded to. It avoids being confronted with any surprises during the interview. Should you be less strong in certain job requirements, consider how you compensate for this. Also take a good look at the company’s website. In any case, know what the company’s core business and culture is. You often see this on an ‘about us’ or ‘working at’ page.
Of course, it is essential to be well prepared for possible questions from the employer. But it is also important that you prepare a number of questions yourself. This will give the impression of being interested, meaning the interview becomes a conversation rather than a series of questions and answers. For example, look for news on the company’s website or in a search engine. You can always ask questions about something topical that appeals to you. This will make the interview more interesting for both you and the employer, thus improving your chance of getting hired.
Take your CV, letter of motivation and the vacancy with you
Always take your CV and letter of motivation to the interview. Your interviewer will not always have a printed version with them and can ask for a copy. Not having a copy to hand over can be particularly irritating. It is also sensible to take along a copy of the job vacancy. Especially if you are extremely nervous about the interview, the vacancy text can provide you with something to fall back on.
What you definitely should not do
In addition to the dos, there are some important don’ts that you should not do during a job interview. By preparing well, many of the don’ts are preventable.
Arriving late or far too early
It is wise to plan your journey thoroughly, so that you are not late to your interview. You only have one opportunity to make a first good impression. By being late, you are already 1-0 behind before you even enter the interview. Similarly, arriving far too early is not advisable either. If you arrive about ten to fifteen minutes before your interview, you will be on time and have the opportunity to get used to the space before you start the interview. Arriving half an hour early may seem strange and you will be alone in a room for thirty minutes.
Talking negatively about your past or current employer should be avoided at all cost. It can be easy to complain about your current employer or the search for a new job. But this has no place during an interview. Your interviewer may assume that you are also going to do this about your future employer. Nobody wants a negative colleague on their team. An employer is looking for someone enthusiastic about a new position, rather than someone who is only motivated to leave their current employer.
Present yourself well
Make sure you wear smart clothes and that you are well rested. This will help you create a good impression at your job interview.
For men, it is important to be well groomed. Shave, but avoid using too much aftershave. It is also wise to wear clothes that suit both you and the corporate culture. So, do not turn up to an interview with a young start-up wearing a suit, unless they do the same themselves. You want your clothes to be tidy, but not a distraction.
For women it is important not to dress too sexy. This comes across as unprofessional and can be very distracting. In terms of accessories and make-up, moderation is key. Perhaps most importantly, wear comfortable clothes that make you feel good during the interview.