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Some of us take job interviews in our stride, and see them as an opportunity to see if the role is right for us just as much as the other way around. Others find them nerve-wracking and stressful. Either way, the best way to make sure an interview goes well is to be well-informed, clear about how the role matches your strengths… and on time.
Here are some top tips to help make sure you get the best out of your next interview – whether it’s by telephone, videoconferencing or face to face.
Running late to an interview is a terrible sensation and puts you on the back foot from the start. Even scrabbling around for a call’s dial-in details can leave you feeling tense and unprepared. Always give yourself too much time, so that you’re there ready and (at least outwardly) relaxed.
Dress codes are much less formal than they used to be, but no-one will raise an eyebrow if you look smart. Underdressing, however, can set you back on first impressions before you’ve even opened your mouth.
Demonstrate that you’ve researched the company ahead of the meeting. Drop in a few comments like ‘I noticed on your website that…’ and ‘I liked the LinkedIn post where…’
Note down things that you want to mention in the interview in advance, and refer to your list in the meeting. It can be a godsend when your mind inevitably goes blank. Feel free to write down interesting things that the interviewer tells you, too, as you may not remember all the details later.
Eye contact is essential in building rapport with your interviewer – and this is even more important on a video interview. Make sure you look directly into the camera often during the meeting. While that’s clearly not a consideration on a phone interview, smiling really is! As radio presenters know, you can hear a smile in someone’s voice and it subconsciously creates a good impression.
Your sole purpose in the meeting is to convince the interviewer that you can do this job well. Take every opportunity to refer to parts of the job description where you have valuable skills and experience.
If you’re asked something you weren’t prepared for, don’t be afraid to pause for thought. It’s much better to show that you’re giving something proper consideration than responding with the first thing that comes into your head. And never interrupt the interviewer or finish their question for them.
Find opportunities to ask your own questions as part of the session, if it seems appropriate. Not only does it make the interview feel more like a conversation, it gives you a breather from being questioned! Remember that you need to find out if you want this job, so have a few questions ready. Make sure you always have one or two up your sleeve to ask at the end.
As a dad, you’ll need some flexibility at times – whether it’s to get time off for parents’ evenings right through to regularly working from home. Test the water gently. Lead with a question like: “My previous company actively encouraged flexible working – I’m just interested to know what your approach is?”
Always thank your interview for their time and convey that you’ve enjoyed meeting them.