1. Be on time for your Interview
Very basic, however I am still surprised to hear of interviewees arriving 10-15 minutes late for an interview with no prior courtesy call or email. Put yourself in the interviewers place, it doesn't bode well and reflects poorly upon you. It’s not a good look when interviewing with an organisation that is potentially looking at employing you; if you can’t make it on time to interview for a potential job, how can they be sure you'll arrive to work every day to perform your job?
On the other end of the scale, arriving 15-20 minutes before the interview is not recommended, this can but unnecessary pressure on the interviewer to wrap prior meetings up asap. If you arrive over five minutes early, go for a short walk then make your way to reception and announce your arrival with five just minutes to spare.
2. First impressions count
It takes as little as one-tenth of a second for us to judge one-another, first impression count, so make yours a positive one. You don’t need to treat the interviewer as you would your best friend (that would be unprofessional) or fall over yourself to impress. Rather a firm handshake, a smile and eye contact go a long way. Start the interview this way and you’re already in front.
3. Examples; Be prepared
I regularly hear of fantastic candidates who fail miserably at an interview because they have a mind block and fail to provide specific examples of previous experiences when being asked competency or behavioural based interview questions. Preparation is key and before attending any interview, as a candidate (potential employee), do your homework and ensure you have specific examples that you can share with your interviewer.
This interview style is referred to as ‘behavioural based’ or ‘competency based’ questions. The good news is It’s not rocket science; you have the experience, find a quite spot to sit down with a pen and paper and jot down your past experiences. If you need help with the structure, use the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, TIME) goal methodology – this is used to set goals and is great for breaking down already achieved goals/accomplishments and spelling them out for the interviewer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria
4. Short and to the point
Too many people let themselves down by talking around a question and taking five minutes to get to the actual answer. If background is required, provide it, but this shouldn’t take up more than 30 seconds. Direct your response to the questions and after responding if you’re unsure you were able to convey the complete message ask the interviewer if they would like you to expand.
By doing this you are allowing the interviewer to go into more detail if they haven’t got the answer they were looking for rather. And you don’t end up taking for 5-10 minutes to respond, finishing up wondering if you answered the question and trying to remember what was asked in the first place.
5. Do your research
This is mandatory; if a potential employer has allocated a portion of their time to meet with you to discuss a position, you need to know what that company does.
Imagine you were having your house renovated, you contact five builders who specialised in renovations and four of them show up having done no prior preparation. The stand out builder presents examples of their work, has knowledge on your land/property and can talk to you about similar projects that are happening in the area or on blocks the same size as yours. This instantly builds credibility between yourself and the builder and you will buy into them a lot faster knowing they are keen (having taken the initiative) to do a good job for you.
Put these tips into play in preparing yourself for that next opportunity.