Jobseekers currently find themselves in a difficult economic climate, with each new vacancy sought after by hundreds of applicants. In such a situation, it is vital that anyone who is invited to interview for a job does everything possible to make the best impression on the interview panel. By following these handy tips, you can maximise the chances of performing at your best.
Do your research
Before you do anything else, it is vital to look into the organisation at which you have applied for a job. Look not only at its official website, but at any independent reviews and analysis which is available. What does the organisation say it values most highly? What are the major projects currently being undertaken? Is the organisation looking to expand into any particular area of business?
Practice makes perfect
Once you have an idea of what the interview panel might be looking for, it’s time to practice your answers to the questions they are likely to be asking. You can find a whole list of potential questions on the internet, but the basic direction of them is almost always the same. The panel will want to know what experience you have in their area of business, how you work in a team, and whether you have the general skills they are looking for. If you can tailor your answers to fit in with the research you have done, proving that you understand the challenges the organisation faces and are well suited to help in meeting them, you will already be ahead of the competition.
When the day of the interview arrives, you need to project an aura of calm confidence. Nothing is less suited to this than sprinting to the interview, and only making it just in time. Even worse is being late! No-one wants to employ someone who can’t be on time for important events, so make sure you are at least 20 minutes early for your appointment. Importantly, as you are waiting, make sure you have something suitable with which to occupy yourself. Consider bringing along a sensible book or a magazine about the sector in which you are seeking employment. Don’t forget, some organisations ask their receptionists about the attitudes and failings of those whom they interview!
However good your answers, if the very first impression you make is of being scruffy and unprofessional, you are unlikely to be given the job. Before you say anything, the interview panel will have formed an opinion based on your appearance and demeanour. If you create the impression that you are already ‘in the job’, the interview panel are much more likely to give you a sympathetic hearing.
Now that you are finally engaged with the interview, it is vital for you to project confidence to the panel. The best way of doing this is to imagine that you already have the job, and that you are talking to existing colleagues in a formal environment. If you can convince your interviewers that you are a natural choice for the job because of your demeanour, it will be very hard for them to choose anyone else. Don’t mumble or apologise for poor answers, and when you are answering questions, keep eye contact with the interviewer.
The best way to project confidence, and a guiding principle for the entire interview, is to answer questions calmly and with sufficient thought. The natural inclination when in a stressful situation is to speak quickly and without thinking things through. The fact that you have practiced your answers to the most likely questions will help here, but make sure you still pause and think before answering. As long as you don’t take too long before speaking, this will create an impression of thoughtfulness, and respect for the interviewer. Remember, they want to find someone really good to fill the position. If you follow these tips, you can convince them that you are perfect for the role.