Have you ever heard people say that going to a job interview is like going on a first date? The nervous feeling, deciding what to wear, how you should act, what you should say or will the person I am meeting even like me???
I find it interesting in theory how both situations are so similar, yet people prepare so differently for a job interview than they do for a first date?
Do first impressions really count when you go to a job interview?
Let’s think about this for a second. You submit your resume and the potential employer likes what they read. Your name appears on a short-list and you receive a phone call where they then like what they hear. Before you know it, you are booked in for a job interview for your dream job. That feeling of excitement you have experienced over the last few days then turns to a huge disappointment when you are notified ‘thank you for your time but unfortunately you are not successful’.
Unlike a date as let’s be brutally honest, you probably know within the first 30 seconds to 5 minutes it is a ‘nay or yay’ outcome, the job you so desperately wanted gives you no feedback and you are left trying to figure it out for yourself by asking the question ‘why don’t they want me’?
Shall we go back to my original point – do first impressions really count? The answer is YESSSSSSS, they do and by following the below 8 simple interview tips hopefully you can turn your luck around and improve your chances of getting the job!
Tip 1: Turn on your privacy settings across all social media accounts and review your profile picture.
Do not give your perspective employer any excuse to not hire you or make unfair assumptions about you prior to the interview. Why give a stranger public access to your past comments, posts or pictures particularly if you are only human and enjoy a night out occasionally with your friends?
Ask yourself the question ‘would I hire me’?
Tip 2: Heard of the term Dress for Success or Dress your Best used?
Do not be afraid to ask for some guidance on the company attire at the time your interview is confirmed? Be proactive and find out! Make sure you have shaven or your hair looks neat, limit your jewellery or iron your shirt. Take a picture and send it to your best friend or a trusted mentor and ask them ‘how do I look’– seek out some honest advice if you are feeling unsure.
Tip 3: Arrive to your scheduled interview on time – no excuses.
The last thing you want to hear is ‘sorry I was stuck in traffic’ or ‘oops I got lost’ or ‘I never realised how far away it was’. All the above is code ‘do not hire me’ as I am an employee who is not organised, leaves everything to the last minute and who makes excuses for my poor time-management skills.
Tip 4: Have a positive mindset and display a good level of energy during your interview.
There is nothing worse than a candidate who turns up to an interview with negative body language or who looks half asleep. Remember, your perspective employer had nothing to do with your last bad job experience so why bring it up? Nor do they understand why you feel justified to slump your shoulders or refrain from smiling or even avoiding eye contact during their interview?
Just remember, if you snooze, you lose…
Tip 5: Listen, speak clearly and know what job you are being interviewed for!
No-one wants to interview a candidate who continually cuts them off mid-sentence or goes off topic or does not read the job description or even knows why they applied in the first place. The statement ‘I just really need a job no longer gets you through the door anymore’. Do your research and just like a first date, find some common interests and showcase your knowledge and experience by promoting yourself professionally without coming across as arrogant, rude or insincere.
Tip 6: Do not fidget, like you are about to throw up or want to be anywhere but here.
A warm entrance by a nice easy-going greeting followed by a hand-shake shows you are glad to be here. Your strong posture exhibits confidence and the ability to not fidget shows you are calm under pressure. If you are nervous, take a deep breath then exhale slowly, put your hands together and place them on your lap. Let the interviewer make the first move by speaking to set the interview tone and giving you time to listen and think about how you are going to respond.
Tip 7: Know what is on your resume and please try to avoid lying as remember company’s do have a 6-month probation period for employees for a reason.
My advice is, it is a very bad idea to lie – simple. You are only setting yourself up to fail as liars get caught during the interview process or if you manage to get away with it, you will increase your risk of being caught during their 6-month probation period. Know what is on your resume and be honest on areas you may need training on. It is very rare employers will look for 10/10 boxes to be ticked and if you have secured an interview, then this is your opportunity to discuss your qualifications, skills, experience and what you can bring to the organisation – focus on your strengths.
You are only setting yourself up to fail as liars get caught…
Tip 8: Come prepared to your interview and never be afraid to ask a couple of questions.
We already know you want the job but make sure you really want the job. Draft a few questions you would like to know about the organisation and at the end of the interview, if one or two questions are still not answered then ask away. Be concise, professional and relevant when asking your question.