It is generally acknowledged that when you apply for a job or express an interest in it, you hope to be invited to an interview and when you get an invitation you, of course, want to leave an excellent impression and show the recruiter how good you are.
Also, it feels good to be able to say to yourself ‘YES! I so nailed it!’ afterwards and leave the office building feeling content.
In this blog, I would like to share several tips on how to leave a great impression and shine in an interview.
Interviewing is competing. You are never the only person in a selection process so when you apply for a job that you really want to get, it is a good idea to skip improvising and invest a bit of time in preparing for a sit-down with the recruiter that you are going to meet.
The content of your CV will provide the recruiter with question material so make sure you know it well. If you list information about the positions you have had and accomplishments you have achieved, remember them and be ready to elaborate on them. Also, at the beginning of the interview you can expect to get a request to give the recruiter a short introduction or overview of your career, so have a think about how you would like to answer it and what you would like to communicate.
Be concrete and focus on what you did. Showing you are a team player is great but answering all the questions with ‘we’ will make a recruiter question what you actually did and whether you have the experience in the matter she/he wants to know about.
Candidates sometimes fall into the trap of getting carried away and lost in their long and swerving answers, so instead of answering the original question, they end up talking about something potentially irrelevant. That is not going to make a recruiter’s day. Make sure to stick to the question and answer it by providing the recruiter with the relevant information first. After that, you can easily add additional information.
When asked to give an example of a situation that you had to solve or manage in any way, the recruiter is curious to see how you did in that particular situation and how you managed to solve it. As every story, your answer should contain a beginning and an end – what the situation was, what your task was, what action you took to complete your task, and finally what results your action brought. By giving the recruiter a well-rounded answer you leave the recruiter with no room to conclude anything else except that you have experience in that particular area.
We all get a bit nervous when we are in a situation where we are assessed in any way, particularly if we are being assessed for something that matters. Being a little bit nervous is normal and sometimes endearing because it shows that you care, however, do not let that emotion take hold of you because it will block you from showing who you really are. Recruiters very much want to know who you are, as a professional but also as a person. We want to know what your passion is and what drives you so if you are too tense, there is a big risk of not letting those passions and drivers shine through. Have this in mind:
- Keep your body posture upright but relaxed
- Avoid crossing your arms and leaning back in your chair as it leaves the impression of disinterest
- Have good eye contact – now, this doesn’t mean you should stare (that would be creepy). Match your eye contact with the person you are talking to.
If you are interviewed by two people, make sure you make eye contact with both as you never know who the decision-maker is
- Respect personal space. Being enthusiastic is excellent but don’t get carried away with hand gesturing and leaning too close
Have you ever heard of mirroring? It is a behaviour commonly used by sales professionals. Mirroring is copying the body language of the person you are talking to. It usually occurs with people you are comfortable with (such as your family and friends) and you don’t even realise you are doing it. Mirroring communicates connection. Sales professionals use this method to establish rapport with the people they want to do business with.
When you interview for a job you would like to get, it is normal to have questions. Recruiters like to receive them as they express your interest in the company you are considering joining. Do some research on the company and make sure you find out the information that is important to you, both about the company and the position.
And there we are! Some preparation, some practice, a couple of deep breaths and you are all set!