It is generally the case that prospective employers form their impressions and often their hiring decisions about you during the first and last 90 seconds of your interview. First and final impressions really do count!
Preparing for your interview
- Study the company before you go into the interview – be aware of their products, services and any latest developments – read the company’s website and any literature supplied – study any job description carefully.
- Be prepared – think of sample questions that might be asked (i.e. tell me about yourself – what can you contribute to our company – what are your strongest skills – what are your achievements – what are your long term career goals – what are your weaknesses?)
- Dress professionally (suit/tie & or jacket/smart shirt for men / suit or smart blouse for ladies) – clean your shoes – check your breath – don’t smoke even if offered – avoid heavy use of perfume.
- Check over your CV and take an extra copy to the interview along with any written references.
- Prepare to ask questions and compile a checklist of points you wish to cover. Take a pen and notebook with you.
- Aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early and plan your route/journey carefully. If you do find yourself running late, try to call in advance and apologize for the delay.
During the interview
- Remember to switch off your mobile phone!
- Speak in a normal tone and be yourself. If you are meeting somebody who has a different nationality to yourself, try to avoid using ‘local jargon’ which may have little meaning to them. If you are having a telephone interview, speak slowly and clearly.
- If you are having a video interview, follow the same rules as face-to-face interviews but remember to maintain strong eye contact and head position and position yourself appropriately for maximum impact.
- Never talk negatively about your current or former employer(s) or colleagues.
- Avoid controversial comments or casting opinions which might be taken the wrong way and don’t give off negative body language or vibes.
- Be confident and demonstrate that you can do the job by using brief examples that showcase your abilities and knowledge. Where appropriate, take examples of work you have done.
- Thank the interviewer for their time and express your interest in the opportunity being offered.
- It is recommended not to mention salary or benefits during any first meeting which should be primarily for becoming acquainted and making a positive impression (unless the interviewer raises the subject).
- Be courteous to everyone in the office because you never know who is assessing you and remember that first impressions count. And remember to smile!
After the interview
- It is recommended that within 24 hours, a follow up email is sent to the person who interviewed you in which you can thank them for their time and interest in your candidacy and confirming your keen interest in the role on offer. If you are working via an agency, they will help you with any contact details.
- If you have heard nothing after 3 or 4 days, you can send a further message enquiring about timescales and any next steps. If you are working via an agency, keep in close touch with your contact person about any next steps or client feedback.
Remember – you only get one chance to make a positive first and final impression….! Good luck!