When you’re in the market for a new job – permanent or a freelance role – interviews can either make or unnecessarily break your progress. It can be a daunting process that scares off even the toughest of professionals, no matter how long you’ve been working. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Below we share our list of recruiters’ top seven tips for a successful job interview, helping you with your next important career step.
1. Prepare properly if you want to have a successful job interview as it will help you feel confident and avoid any unpleasant surprises. Good preparation can also help you decide whether this job is really what you want. Use the following steps as guidelines:
- Know your CV. It goes without saying that everything in there is true, but make sure you know what to say when asked about previous jobs, functions or projects. Bring a copy of your CV/resume to the interview. (See our previous blog for tips on writing the perfect CV.)
- Know yourself. Do you know what you want, what you don’t want and what you want to achieve (in this position)? Be able to clearly and concisely explain what motivates you and why you want to work for the company in question.
- Do your research. In terms of research into the company, you can never be over-prepared! Understand their processes, objectives and challenges to show them that you have an active interest in their company… a sign of potential loyalty! With social media as a tool, it’s not unusual to research your contact or interviewer – they are likely to have a LinkedIn profile. The more insight you have into the upcoming surroundings, the least distracted you can get from new information, the better you can focus on showing them what you’re made of.
- Practice makes perfect. Although you can’t foresee what will be asked at the interview, you can get someone to help you prepare with a trial interview. Often someone else’s critical mind can come up with questions you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
2. Dress the part. Whether it’s a laid-back company or a formal corporation, dress accordingly to show that you will fit into the company culture. When in doubt, rather arrive too formal than too casual and steer clear of sportswear.
3. Make a good first impression on the day of your successful job interview by arriving 5-10 minutes early, smelling appealingly (don’t smoke before you go inside!), greeting everyone courteously or with a firm handshake, switching off your mobile phone and maintaining a professional attitude.
4. Keep your body in check during the interview to avoid sending out the wrong signals. It’s normal to be nervous, but aim to remain positive, confident and controlled throughout the interview. In our next blog, we’ll share some tips on how to do this.
5. Ask appropriate questions to show your interviewer(s) that you have been listening and understand what may be expected of you, can think critically and are well-prepared. Don’t be afraid to ask him or her to repeat a question if you didn’t hear it properly or need extra time to think (overdoing this will make you seem slow or hard of hearing). Questions related to the industry, company or position are great; stay clear of leading a discussion into salaries, remunerations or holidays until you have received an offer. Let your last question or discussion be about the next steps of the interview process – when will you expect to hear from them?
6. Follow up after the interview to keep yourself in your interviewer’s mind with a well-written email, thanking them for their time and confirming your interest in the position. This is often a forgotten but crucial part of a successful job interview. Another good way to connect to your interviewer(s) is on professional social media sites such as LinkedIn or Xing. Wait a day or two in order to avoid anything premature.
7. Be sure that this is what you want before accepting the job if it’s offered to you. Even though the job market is tough at the moment, there’s no point in taking on a job that you are not bought into.
Do you have any other tips on a successful job interview, or would like to share your experiences? Leave us a comment below…
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