Interviews are stressful, there is no denying it. You have applied for a job you are really interested in and the company is interested enough in you to offer an interview – no pressure! There may be a lot riding on having a successful interview, whether it is a spot on a graduate scheme or your chance at a placement year, so it is vital you make a good first impression.
‘Duh, we already know that! But how do we go about it?’
To help you out a bit, we have put together a list of five top tips to make sure you do a successful interview. Check them out below!
Research, Research, Research
Don’t underestimate this one. Before you go in for an interview, you should know the company like the back of your hand. We’re talking, what they do, the projects they are working on, when they were founded, how many people they employ and so on. If you do enough research you will be ready for any curveball questions they may throw at you, but you will also feel more confident going in to the interview which could help you give stronger performance when you are in there.
Have a good look around the company website to get the information you need. Search Google for any news stories about the firm which may show recent successes or future plans. If they have any social media channels, these are good places to get a sense for the culture of the company through behind the scenes snaps of staff or company initiatives.
Start strong with a good handshake
This is another important one. Research from a study conducted by management experts at the University of Iowa analysed candidate interactions in job interviews. Their research found that handshakes are “one of the first nonverbal clues we get about the person’s overall personality, and that impression is what we remember.” Therefore, getting it right is essential if you want to make a good first impression. You want a good firm grip (not of knuckle-crushing proportions), maintaining eye contact while you are greeting or introducing yourself, and don’t forget to SMILE. Think of it as the triple threat. If you manage to do these successfully, you are already off to a flying start!
Dress to impress
Think of interviews like an audition. Not only are you being judged on your credentials, but there are other visual cues that subconsciously the interviewers will also take into consideration when deciding whether you are a suitable fit or not. One of these is how you are dressed. This may seem very superficial but looking presentable is important (obviously consider the industry standards). No, we’re not saying you should look like you have just walked the runway, just make sure you are showered and wearing your smartest outfit. This will help reinforce the good first impression you made with your killer handshake.
Smash the ‘Tell me about yourself’ question
This is the one question you are guaranteed to get asked at almost any job interview. It is almost as inevitable as the sun rising in the East and setting in the West (okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point). Since you know it is coming, you should be prepared for it. This is your chance to set the bar really high, it is a great opportunity to really sell yourself and big up your skills and experience. Set a narrative that highlights your strengths, experiences and interests in the job, and this will get you off to a good start.
Talk to them about who you are, discuss your professional experience and the skills you have developed. Mention why you are interested in the role, why you would be a good match for it and what you can bring to the company. If you manage to hit all of these points effectively, this will set you up for a great interview.
Dig a little deeper
A huge component of a successful interview can be the questions you choose to ask the interviewers. Don’t underestimate this aspect of the interview, employers want to hire someone who knows what they want, and the only way to show this is to ask lots of questions.
It is a good chance to get more of an insight into the company, their culture, and more specifically; the role. This is your chance to find out more about the structure of the team you will be working in, if there are any training opportunities etc, BUT, you should use this opportunity to dig a little deeper.
Show that you have done your research by asking specific questions about projects the company are working on, future plans and how this role will be involved in those plans. Avoid asking questions about salary, working hours and holidays, you want to seem focused on the role itself.
Read our blog to find out what else you should definitely NOT ask in an interview! Or check out our blog on the importance of body language in an interview.