Hallowe’en is around the corner, but interviews can turn into a real horror show all year ’round. You might find yourself in the drawn-out psychological horror of a dragging interview, or facing the jump-scare of a rejection you didn’t see coming. How do you create a happy outcome at every interview?
1. Don’t stumble in the dark
Make sure you do your research! It’s tempting to just blag your way through, but this portrays a lack of enthusiasm or real interest in the role. Arm yourself with all the intel about the organisation – read their corporate site, social media feeds and Glassdoor reviews to get a picture of what they’re working on, and what challenges they face.
If you take anything into the interview room with you, such as handouts, notebooks or dongles, then be sure to carefully gather your things. When an interview ends, that’s not the time to hustle out as quickly as possible.
Gather your thoughts and your things, and take a moment to get your bearings back. Don’t forget your umbrella, either – they’re the first thing to go when you’re in a hurry.
2. Don’t be a zombie
Be aware of your handshake when greeting the interviewer(s), as a firm handshake conveys confidence and charisma. A flimsy handshake can show hesitation and caution – and makes you look weak.
Likewise, intimidating, lazy, rude or even dismissive body language are huge turn-offs. However great your answers may be, always show your enthusiasm by sitting up upright, maintaining eye contact throughout, and be animated (but not too much!) while you speak.
There’s nothing worse for an interviewer than seeing candidates behaving like they’ve turned up just for the sake of getting a job. Be positive and show a genuine interest; ask questions, offer a couple of ideas and enjoy the conversation.
3. Be the hero(ine)
This isn’t a battle between good and evil! Always keep your cool; give clear and calm examples of how you’ll add value to the company, such as your top skills or best work, or how you’ve completed projects and so forth.
Consider answers like, ‘I can achieve A or B in your company by doing C and D, which will help support your business growth’. Be prepared to answer other tough questions such as ‘What drives you to succeed? or ‘What are your biggest accomplishments?’
It’s a two-way conversation. Come ready with your own questions, such as ‘What projects are you working on?’, and questions based on what you’ve heard in the interview. You’ll show that you’re paying attention, analysing what you’ve heard, and thinking on your feet.
4.Don’t bare your fangs
No matter how frustrating the journey may be or the people, be careful who is on the receiving end of your tantrum. The person you made that rude gesture to at the traffic lights might be on your panel…
Also, we’ve heard of instances where candidates have walked out of interviews because of a personality clash with the interviewer(s). Even after all the prep work you’ve done to nail those interview questions correctly and make that right first impression, don’t be hard on yourself if an interviewer irritates you.
If they’re someone you have to work with every day, better to know you’re not a match sooner rather than later.
More and more candidates even forget to say thank you after an interview. Don’t forget to send that email to the employer thanking them for the opportunity of an interview. This demonstrates initiative that you are truly engaged in the role, and will be remembered by recruiters in making their final decisions.
5. Finally: don’t dress for trick or treating
If you’re thinking to express your personality with something seasonal, our advice is to give that a miss. Maybe keep the carved-pumpkin socks and tie for another occasion and just dress smart, or smart-casual depending on the company and their preferences.