Jan 20

Things You Can Do At An Interview To Improve Your Chances

When you finally get that long-awaited interview, it is only natural that you will want to make a good impression.  These tips will help you to do just that.

Review your resume / CV prior to the interview and run through each position you’ve held in your head. Be able to demonstrate specific examples of how you made a contribution to the company, solved a problem or saved them money.

Consider what questions the interviewer may ask you about your former employers, including your promotions/added responsibilities and reasons for leaving. Make sure that you keep your comments positive as negative comments may make the interviewer wonder what you may say about his/her company should you leave.

First impressions count. A firm handshake is important but avoid appearing physically stronger that the interviewer by matching the firmness of their handshake. In some Asian cultures, a gentle handshake is preferred.

You will be asked to tell the interviewer a little about yourself. Make sure that you have something prepared and that it is specifically designed to promote your strengths in relation to the position for which you are applying. Some people prepare an “elevator speech.”  This is a short, concise summary of who you are and what your goals are. The name “elevator speech” refers to what you would say if you found yourself in an elevator with the person who could have the greatest influence over your life or career, e.g., someone well-respected in your field.  You only have as much time as it takes the elevator to reach their floor to make an impression.  What would you say about yourself in those short moments to grab their attention?

It is common to be asked why you want this job. Be prepared for this question and make sure that your response covers the requirements set-out in the job specification, both mandatory and preferred.  You should be enthusiastic and confident.

Make sure you know as much as you can about the organization. Their website is a good start, where you may find an About page and Mission Statement.  Do your research–how will you know if the company culture is a good fit unless you learn what it’s about?

Don’t try to be someone you are not – be yourself. Interviewers want to understand what you are like, how you may fit into their environment and how you will get along with others. If you appear to be faking your persona or taking on the role of interviewee, it will make it difficult for the interviewer to judge these characteristics and you may well put him/her off.

While modesty is considered a virtue, don’t be too modest. Show some strength of character. Let the interviewer know your strengths and how they may benefit their organization. Be confident and sell yourself to the interviewer. Use specific examples of achievements rather than general statements.

If you are asked a question which you can’t confidently answer, don’t stumble around trying. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification. If appropriate, tell the interviewer that you are not sure and then offer an explanation. If the circumstances dictate, tell them that you will find out and get back to them – then make sure that you do.

Take care to mind your posture. Sit up straight (not rigid and tense) and make it appear that whatever they are saying is the most interesting thing you have ever heard, without overdoing it.  Keep your posture open (don’t fold arms or cross legs).

When the opportunity presents itself, let the interviewer know what a quick learner you are and how you quickly adapt to new situations and technologies. Again, specific examples are very useful.  This is even more important when you do not possess all of the required and preferred skills.

Try and make eye contact without staring. If you have an issue with eye contact, look at the space just above the interviewer’s nose. While you are not making eye contact, it will appear to the interviewer that you are.

When you are asked whether you have any questions, take the opportunity to show your interest and ask some. Consider preparing some questions in advance. If you cannot think of any, say something like, “No, thank you. You have covered everything well.”

Leave any discussion of salary to the end of the interview unless the interviewer brings it up. You want to give the impression that the position interests you more than the remuneration.

Above all, try to relax, present a pleasant and confident nature and be honest.

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