Your CV has already made a great “first impression” on your potential employer, or you wouldn’t be in an interview situation. Now is the time to build upon that impression and secure your next position. It’s not just what you say at this meeting that can sway a hirer’s decision, here are my top three “do’s and don’ts” to help you at that all important interview.
DO start as you mean to go on – be polite and courteous to everyone, from the receptionist to the interview panel. You won’t know the company structure or who has influence on the hiring decisions and within minutes they will have an instant impression of you so treat everybody equally, being polite and respectful.
DO dress smartly AND appropriately – an interviewer will see you before they hear you, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s human nature. Make sure you’re dressed smartly and your personal appearance is impeccable. Treat an interview with a recruitment agency like you would with an employer, if you turn up in jeans, can a recruitment consultant have the confidence in you to be smart in front of a hirer? You are representing them as well as yourself.
DO remember your body language – keep a relaxed but alert posture and a friendly expression. Try not to slouch into a casual pose as the interview goes on. Maintain eye contact, and if there is more than one interviewer, look at the person asking the question when you reply but glance at other interviewers from time to time. Give each interviewer a firm handshake at the beginning and end of the interview.
DON’T be negative – a positive attitude is the single most important personal attribute to demonstrate to an interviewer. Whether you had a nightmare journey, or your previous employer was not for you, your interview is not the place to air this negativity. Have a friendly demeanour and show them this is a positive career move for you, and it’s more likely a potential employer will remember you. The right attitude does have a great impact.
DON’T be late – practice the route at the time of day you will need to travel, but remember accidents can happen so if you are going to be late for any reason call the interviewer and explain. Arriving 10 minutes before the interview will allow you to collect your thoughts and calm any nerves you may have. Take a deep breath, switch off your mobile phone and smile.
DON’T be dishonest – be honest with your interview panel, as you will be caught out – eventually. Listen carefully to their questions, speak clearly giving concise answers and if it’s not clear ask for clarification rather than trying to “wing it”.
Preparing properly should put you at ease and you will talk with confidence about yourself, the role and your potential employer. Prepare evidence and examples of your skills and competencies and how they are suitable for the position. Don’t forget that preparation for your interview is key to performing well, and keeping in mind the top “do’s and don’ts” will get you on the right track.
For more interview tips, why not take a look at our “Guide to Interview Planning, Preparation & Technique”, and let us know what you think.