If you’ve landed a job interview it means you’ve made the shortlist and your prospective new employer suspects you have the right qualifications and experience for the job. So, what exactly do employers look for in an interview that they don’t already know about you from reading your resume? Many employers take the opportunity to assess your knowledge and capabilities, and also whether you’re a good fit for their company culture. Do you represent their brand values? Are you someone they want to invest in for the future? Do you display integrity, honesty and professionalism? Here’s how to put your best foot forward.
1 Look the part
Before you decide on what to wear to your interview, spend some time looking at the company’s website. Does the business seem formal and conservative, or does it appear to have a more relaxed, entrepreneurial vibe? How are staff presented in the ‘About Us’ page on the site? Are men wearing ties or open collars? Are women wearing neutral tones or bolder colours? Take this into consideration when choosing an outfit. Make sure you feel confident and comfortable in your interview outfit.
2 Consider your body language
Body language can be just as important as the words you speak. When you greet your interviewers stand up straight, make eye contact, and shake hands firmly. Don’t slouch or fidget during the interview and try to smile. If you’re sitting for a panel interview, direct your answer to the person who asked you the question.
3 Do your homework
Always spend time researching the company before your interview. What do they do? Who are their clients? What technology do they use? Make sure you understand the services they offer, and you’re prepared to elaborate if you’re asked. You want to show that you’ve done your homework and it also helps you determine if this is a company you would like to work for.
4 What’s your motive?
Why do you want to work for the company? This is a sure-fire question in any job interview and one you need to hit out of the park. Make sure your answer is genuine and relevant to the business. Mention a case study you read on their website, a blog article that inspired you, an award they won, or why their mission statement resonates with you.
5 Prepare examples
You haven’t been invited to an interview simply to repeat what’s already listed on your CV. Your potential employers are trying to get to know you, so answer their questions with a few examples from your personal or professional life. It’s not enough to simply claim that you have leadership qualities. Rather, share an example of when you used your leadership qualities to overcome a challenge and what you learned from the experience. Come prepared with examples so you are ready to demonstrate your experience and expertise.
6 Be authentic
What are your weaknesses? It’s the interview question that everyone dreads. What most don’t realise is that it’s actually an opportunity to be authentic and perhaps even highlight your strengths. Don’t answer with a flippant, ‘I’m a perfectionist’ or ‘I work too hard’. Rather, be genuine and talk about a quality you’d like to develop. Perhaps you’d like to work on becoming less introverted or improving your presentation skills. Extra points if you can explain what steps you’re already taking to address your weaknesses. Remember, a job interview is not an exam. While a little practise can’t hurt your chances, staying calm and being able to clearly articulate your strengths is your best preparation.