Ace your interview
So you have got as far as the interview, but how do you ensure that you make the best impression and actually land the job?
When leaving for an interview make sure that you give yourself enough time to reach the arranged meeting point. Punctuality is an important first impression for any potential employer, as it shows good time management and a positive approach to the potential role.
During an interview, your interviewer will subconsciously give you a lot of information on how to behave, which you should use as a guide for the rest of the interview. Observe their style and pace and try to match it. Listen to what they are saying, and let them know you've been listening by asking good questions and making insightful comments.
It's up to you whether your interview resembles an interrogation or not. If you don't ask questions, you will force the interviewer to ask you more, leaving you without the necessary lead-ins to points you want to get across. When you respond to a question you should ask a question of your own to make sure you have accurately understood and provided enough detail. This creates a dialogue with the interviewer, and builds a better rapport than when you are simply answering any question they throw your way.
One common mistake candidates often make is to talk too much in an interview. Too much information, particularly personal information, should not be discussed during the interview. It is important to listen to the question asked and answer it accurately and succinctly. It is also very easy to go off on tangents about things which are irrelevant if your answer is too long, so keep your responses to two or three minutes at most.
Try to bring up a weakness before you are asked for one, and make sure your weakness can also be seen as a positive. For example, "To tell the truth, I don't react well to being micro-managed. I will always ask for help if I need it but I enjoy being able to solve problems on my own and being trusted to manage my own time." This will help you to build a personal connection with the interviewer.
As a final thought, remember to relax. An interview is as much for you to find out about the role and company offering the position as it is for the interviewer to understand your skills and qualifications. Attempt to stay positive throughout the entire interview and remember to smile.
Date published: 30 April 2008