Being in the recruitment game, there’s never a shortage of stories about job interviews that took a wrong turn or candidates making the same common mistakes in interviews. Not long ago, I probably would have considered a blog post about best practice job interview tips to be kind of unnecessary, but on second thought, there’s no harm in laying down some ground rules.
Here are 10 foolproof tips for interviewees (that are not as obvious to some as they should be!) that should prevent any interview from turning into a comedy of errors!
1.Prior to an interview, do your research. Being able to tell your interviewer about their company or a latest product release is an easy way to earn brownie points.
2. Conduct a practice interview with a friend. Practice answering questions you’re likely to be asked during the interview – being caught off guard by questions you’re not expecting is also great practice as it gets you thinking on your feet.
3. When you arrive for the interview, be just as polite to the person who greets you as you are to the person who you’re having the interview with. Chances are, these people may trade notes anyway!
4. Make eye contact with your interviewer and give them your full attention. Trying to catch glimpses of the office by looking past them is distracting for an interviewer and gives the impression that your focus is not on the conversation.
5. Find creative ways to touch on key competencies of the role during your application and interview. This lets the employer know that you’ve invested time and thought into your application, i.e. that you haven’t just applied for a ton of similar roles en masse!
6. Wear anything you wouldn’t wear to meet your significant other’s parents for the first time. As shallow as it sounds, first impressions are everything in situations like these. Yes, this rules out overly tight clothing and plastic footwear!
7. Let the interviewer know if you’ve arrived more than 15 minutes early. Letting them know 10 minutes ahead of the interview, tops, is as much notice that’s needed to show that you’re timely and keen. There’s actually an inverse ratio between the earlier you arrive (beyond the 10 – 15 minute mark) and the more organised you seem. Arriving 40 minutes early may put pressure on the interviewer to race through whatever they’re doing so as to not keep you waiting, or may make it seem like you read the time of the interview wrong! Or that you can’t tell the time – also not ideal.
8. Exaggerate your skill set. Employers aren’t looking to hire candidates who are overqualified for a role (or who sound too big for their boots).
9. Blabber. During the interview – listen, consider a question carefully, then answer. It can be difficult and awkward to extricate yourself from a tangent you went down about your neighbour’s cat when you realise the story is totally unrelated to the question you were asked!
10. Forget your Ps and Qs. Always thank the interviewer at the end and shake their hand, even if you think it was a flop and that you’ll never hear from them again. If they liked you enough, they might just give you call about another role some time down the track!
What are some of your best tips for job interviews?
Share with us in the comments section below!
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