Tips to Succeed at a Job Interview

A few essential tips to keep in mind when attending a job interview.

You may be fresh out of college trying to enter the job market, or you may be half way down your career path looking to increase your prospects and bag a better job. Whoever you are, there are a few basic tips that you should keep in mind when attending a job interview. Here are a few tips that will help you succeed at your next job interview and help you land in that dream job of yours.

The first impression counts

Yes, the first impression counts. For many people, the first moment they set their eyes on someone, they can decide many things about that person. It is a psychological thing and may not always be correct. Whether the first impression is accurate or not, why take a chance? So keep in mind that how you dress and how you carry yourself the first time you meet your prospective employer is very important. This first impression helps the interviewer determine whether you would fit in with the organization and what sort of a person you are.

Dress to impress

Whoever said that what you wear has nothing to do with who you are is wrong. How you dress speaks volumes about yourself. So dress to impress. It does not mean that you have to dress up to the nines, but wear clean, well ironed, matching clothes. Avoid loud, bright colours and bizarre fashion statements.

For men, a shirt with long sleeves and well-cut pants would do. Make sure you wear a matching tie and keep it sober – no fancy designs with the Simpsons on it please. For certain positions you might even be required to wear a full suit.

For women, a light coloured blouse and a pair of pants, or even a work wear skirt such as an A line skirt or a pencil skirt, would do. Don’t go for too much jewellery or excessive make up. A simple and a matching hand bag or a brief case would add to the professional look. Remember to polish your shoes, and ladies, better not opt for extremely high heels; it is important that you are comfortable to perform well at the interview.

Also make sure you are well groomed; neatly combed hair and clean, short nails all give out little signals about your personality and add to it.

Do your homework

It would help to do some homework about the organization you are planning to join. Very often they ask you about how you got to know about the company, what you know about them, and other such questions. Therefore, visit their websites, ask around from friends about the company or the organization you are planning to join, and prepare beforehand so that the questions about the company do not surprise you.

Find out the location

Before the day of the interview, find out where the company is located and make sure you know the way to the place of your interview. It will help you to reach there on time.

Be prepared

Be prepared for the interview. Browse the Internet and find out what sort of questions you may be asked and prepare your answers for them. Practice with a friend if you can. Remember to always be positive in your answers.

Be ready if there are tests

Some interviews have a test component as well. If there is a test, ask the person who calls you to set up the interview a few basic questions about any test as well as the duration of the test and what will you be tested on, so that you know what to expect.

Be punctual

Punctuality is very important at any job interview. There is really no excuse for being late. But don’t be too early either. If you arrive too early, you’ll look too anxious. Arrive about 10 minutes prior to the interview, so that you have enough time to settle down and wait until you are called rather than rush to the interview.

Be confident

This, I think, is the most important. No one is perfect, but anyone can be confident. You may be a bit jittery, but look confident. The moment you look hesitant, the interviewers can sense it and it might prompt them to question you further. So be confident and that will reflect in your answers and the manner in which you behave at the interview. If you have prepared for the interview beforehand, it will definitely boost your confidence level too.

Take all documents

Whether they ask you or not, it is wise to take a folder of your certificates and your portfolio. Make sure you take a printed copy of your CV and do not forget to take a pen. If they have asked you to bring specific documents, make a checklist before you go for the interview and make sure you take all the documents they have asked you to bring. Make sure you arrange them in order so that you will look organized and methodical.

Mind your manners

When you are called for the interview, greet the interviewers according to the time of the day. Don’t offer to shake hands unless they do first, and wait till you are asked to be seated. Sit properly and do not sit on the edge of the chair because that will look as if you are nervous. Remember that from the moment you enter the premises, you are under scrutiny. So treat everyone you meet nicely and politely, starting from the doorman to the CEO.

Be honest and sincere

Be honest and sincere at the interview. If you don’t know the answer to a certain question, say so. Don’t lie. If you do not understand a certain question, politely ask them to repeat the question. Do not complain about your previous jobs; don’t criticize your previous employers. Those are definite no nos.

Maintain eye contact

Maintain eye contact with the interviewers. Address the person asking you the question and the others in the panel, if it is a panel interview. Smile.

Thank them for the time

Once the interview is over, thank them for the time they spent and for interviewing you. If they offer to shake hands, do so, and have a firm hand shake. Wish them a pleasant day and close the door slowly behind you.

Your interviewers will tell you what to expect next after the interview. Be honest and face the interview with confidence, and you will soon be doing your dream job. Good luck!

Copyright Joseph Kirby.