The interview process can be a nerve wracking experience, I understand better than anyone how excellent candidates can fall to pieces in a formal interview environment. I have interviewed thousands of candidates during my career and I have seen the worst and the best; through my experience I can evaluate a candidate very quickly. The basic answer is, through your CV you have shown that you are technically able to do the job, the interview is simply to establish how you interact within the business environment and how you perform under pressure.
Here are my ten tips for your interview; the first is one to always remember:
1 | The interviewer is under pressure.
With the added bonus of having to drive the interview. The interviewer is hoping that you will be the perfect candidate as much as you are, try not to think how to impress, instead relax, feel confident and go with the direction the interviewer is taking you in.
2 | Dress to impress.
Obviously, this isn’t a night out; however, you want to feel your best, so put on your heels, use your favorite bag and style your power suit. This is your moment to shine.
3 | Preparation, preparation, preparation.
My husband actually refers to the six P’s: Proper Preparation Prevent P*** Poor Performance. Rather crude I know, but fairly accurate. Research the company, the role, the market conditions, the relevant current affairs, the interviewer and even the members of the board. Prepare any questions you would like to ask and remember a copy of your current, up to the minute CV. One tip when asking questions, try to avoid financial questions in your first interview, leave these to your second interview as it will make you appear as though you are only motivated by money rather than by the role itself, or the company culture, etc.
4 | Do not take your daily soy latte in with you.
This gives the impression that you are treating your interview as if it were a coffee break.
5 | Do not forget to turn your mobile or any other devices off.
Not only is it embarrassing if your phone rings and may put you off your stride, but it also makes you appear disorganized. If you do happen to forget and your phone does ring, please do not under any circumstances answer it. Apologize, cancel the call and turn it off. I have actually sat in interviews where the candidate apologizes and then proceeds to answer the phone. This happens more than you would imagine because people panic.
6 | Do not be late or arrive more than 15 minutes early.
Although turning up late is not the best start, arriving too early is never a good idea either because a company will usually have a schedule of interviews based on average interview duration. If you arrive too early, they may not have space for you and even if they do, it puts the interviewers and all involved in the interview process under pressure. Also, the longer you are sat there, the more likely you are to become agitated.
7 | Do not interrupt the interviewer.
Interviewers like to feel a sense of respect from candidates as it shows a genuine interest in the opportunity and the company. If you interrupt them, it frustrates them and can throw them off course.
8 | Thank you.
Once the interview has come to an end and you are saying your goodbyes, always thank your interviewer for their time and the opportunity to be considered for the role.
9 | Sales time.
Follow up the next day with an email to express your interest in the role. Having had time to think through the interview, raise any additional points you hadn’t come up with on the day. Always stay positive.
10 | Keep it simple.
Finally, good luck. I wish you every success and remember, according to Woody Allen, ‘eighty percent of success is showing up.’