Recruiting extensively for discerning clients has given us a fair idea of what most employers look for in their prospective candidates – especially in an interview situation. Whilst the thought of any sort of interview may fill you with dread and apprehension, below are some ideas on how to alleviate and manage the stress factors in the lead up to, and even during, an interview with a prospective employer.
1) Dress up, never down.
We have found that it’s better to err on the side of caution when deciding what to wear to an interview with a prospective employer.
If in doubt, always pick the safe option – you can never be too ‘conservative’, but you can create the wrong impression with clothing choices that stand out for all the wrong reasons. Avoid looking dishevelled, unshaven and/or rushed – if you are able to, use the bathroom five minutes beforehand to discretely assess your appearance, and if need be, make the necessary amendments.
2) Arrive on time.
Everyone knows that it’s a faux pas to arrive late to an interview – but a candidate that arrives far too early for an appointment can also jeopardise their chances of impressing a prospective
employer. Plan your trip ahead of time, and ensure you arrive ten minutes before an interview. If you
arrive too early, don’t walk into the office and announce your arrival to all and sundry –
prepare for the interview discretely, ensuring you have all relevant documentation, together
with details of who you will be meeting with. Most employers are impressed when you
remember details such as their names and position titles.
3) Watch out for excessive talking.
If you get excessively nervous, you may become overly talkative when in an interview
situation. Nerves are understandable, and an employer will not hold it against you. However,
there is nothing worse than someone who doesn’t allow an interviewer a chance to get a word
Ensure that you answer all questions directly, without unnecessary waffle. Elaborate when
you need to, but do ensure that your answers reflect what an interviewer wants to hear, not
what you think you need to say in order to add more credibility to your application.
4) Don’t sell – present.
There is nothing worse than an overzealous salesperson who is prepared to say (and do)
anything in order to secure employment. Let your experience and personality speak for itself
– be honest with all questions, present well and leave a good impression through adopting a
professional and courteous demeanour.
Be wary of sugar-coating or even lying about previous work experiences; also be careful
about over-selling your technical competencies and/or knowledge of the relevant industry in
which you are applying to work in. There are other ways to gloss over perceived deficiencies
instead of lying – use them.
Note: Seek have great articles on interview techniques here, including turning weaknesses
into strengths during interviews.
5) Take an interest in the company that you are interviewing at.
Employers want to know if you will be a long term employee, or someone who is just out to
make a quick buck before moving on to another company that will pay more in the near
future. If you demonstrate a keen interest in the company culture, ethos, vision and staff
values, you will create a positive impression as someone who is at least prepared to learn
about the company, rather than someone who merely lives from pay-check to pay-check.