The ultimate guide to aceing your job interview
- Career Advice
- 4 mins read
After the gruelling job application stage of the recruitment process, you’re finally receiving some intriguing interview requests. But how does one go about preparing for the big day?
We’ve compiled what we consider to be the best pieces of advice that we give our candidates before their interview.
Get to know the company
Before your interview it is vital that you educate yourself in the ins and outs of the company that you are being interviewed by. Find out the company motto, its competitors, and history to best arm yourself with valuable information that you can cite during your interview. We have even heard of candidates who have absorbed the content of the company’s website before their interview, and were able to reference keywords contained within that copy – to help reinforce a favourable impression.
You should also strive to find out more about the culture of the company that you are looking to work for. Granted, your experience and skills base is what the interviewers are primarily interested in, but they will also want you to fit in with their workplace culture. The likelihood is that you will fit in just fine, but your employers don’t know that. Make it obvious to them.
Quite simply: the more you can find out about the company before the interview, the better.
The night before an interview can be crucial to the success of the big day itself. Make sure that you eat well, avoid alcohol, and do what you must to relax in order to get a good night’s kip. A lot of people choose to exercise, wearing themselves out to ensure a full night’s worth of sleep. Of course there are many other ways to relax, namely watching an engrossing film, a massage, meditation, or listening to music that calms you down.
First impressions are important in this game, and you certainly don’t want to undo all of the hard work that you’ve done to get to this stage, by wearing an unsuitable outfit for your interview. Not that you have to go overboard! A modern, smart and modest outfit will put you on the pedestal required at this stage of the recruitment process, and will get your interview off to the idea start.
Be careful not to go too overboard on the perfume/aftershave. Remember, you want to interviewers to remember your interview for the right reasons.
No matter who you talk to who says differently, the reality is that you’re going to be nervous before your interview, or at least a little bit anxious. Naturally, our bodies tend to process food at a higher rate when we are under pressure or mild stress, so don’t be tempted to over-eat before your interview on the big day. A fruit breakfast would be beneficial, as well as a small cup of tea or coffee. Keep lunchtime bread consumption to a minimum, as this tends to deplete energy levels through the afternoon, and remember to keep hydrated!
Consider arriving to your interview well-ahead of time to allow for last minute outfit adjustments, like straightening your tie, or neatening your hair – anything that may have been compromised in transit to your interview.
This will also allow you the time to speak to the receptionist, which is highly recommendable as he/she may be able to help you re-engage with the interviewers during the post-interview stage – therefore you should really try to make a good impression.
Leave the talking to the interviewer
Take the pressure off of yourself by letting the interviewer lead in the exchange of pleasantries. Your chance to shine will be when you are required to respond to their questions. When you do speak, structure your answers in their simplest form to avoid confusion and irritation. And whatever you do, don’t rush. Relax and converse with your interviewer at a relaxed, natural pace.
Positive body language
As important as your words you choose to say during your interview is how you communicate using your body.
In Western society, we are known for constantly slouching forward – body language experts have speculated that it’s our obsession with looking too far into the future instead of focussing on the present. Help convince your interviewer that you are concentrating on the moment by improving your everyday posture, and straightening that back!
We also strong purveyors of engaging in eye contact with your interviewer – which will help establish trust, along with a smile here and there.
Take a breath
As obvious as it sounds, taking a breath before you answer a question from your interviewer works two-fold. Whilst providing your brain with extra oxygen, the short pause before you answer will show your interviewer that you are taking a very brief moment to consider your reply, instead of incessantly spurting out the first thing that comes to your head in a reactive manner. You will come across as a more composed, professional person instead of one who is melting under the pressure.
Keep it formal
Whilst some people find it comforting to pad out their social lingo with terms such as ‘cool’, ‘wicked’, and ‘awesome’, there’s no place for these in an interview environment. You should keep your speech strictly professional; exercising your excellent command of the English language when and wherever you can, without ‘over-flowering’ your sentences.
Remember to exit your interview in a graceful manner by expressing gratitude to your interviewer for sparing the time to see you. There is also an opportunity upon leaving to further express your interest for working with the company, and that you are looking forward to hearing their response to your interview.
Stay in touch
Presuming that you had gathered the key channels of communication at the job application stage of the recruitment process, make sure that you periodically reconnect with your interviewer, and anyone else that you think appropriate, in order to stay on their radar. One email per-week should suffice.