You may have years’ of experience, and you may have more skills than you know what to do with, but if you cannot sell yourself at your interview, you will not be getting the job.
Despite solely relying upon interviews now being seen as an old-fashioned way of recruiting, many companies feel they get to know a candidate best by meeting them, and interviewing them. No matter how cutting-edge your CV may be, if you do not at least create a decent impression in your interview, then you may find yourself falling behind even less-qualified candidates in the recruitment process.
You can learn interview skills, though. You need to learn how to present yourself, how to ask pertinent questions, how to deal with your body language, and how to best answer the questions you are most likely to be asked.
There is absolutely no substitute for good preparation. It’s the cornerstone of any successful interview. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will appear. You certainly are less likely to appear flustered, even if a question arrives out of left field.
Preparation extends to dress and being punctual. Dress in a business-like manner. Plan your journey and make sure there is absolutely zero possibility of you arriving late – if you are late you will lose kudos that you will find very hard to claw back.
Research your new potential employees – Google is your interview wing-man on this occasion.
Make sure you have read and re-read the job specification. That way you will understand where your skills and experiences are relevant, and where they are of no consequence.
Know every tiny aspect of your CV, including the dates of your past employments, and the questions you are likely to be asked about it.
What your body language says about you
The way you present yourself is just as important as every skill and evidence of experience on your CV. Don’t slouch. Maintain ‘natural’ eye contact with your interviewer(s). Smile and be friendly. Don’t make risqué jokes, or plain bad ones. Smile, and be attentive at all times. Nod when you agree with something one of your interviewers says.
Remember that your interviewer(s) will be trained to pick up on visual cues, but don’t let that overwhelm you.
What are you likely to be asked?
Prepare answers for the most commonly asked interview questions, such as “tell me a little about yourself”, “what are your strengths?” and “what are your weakness?”
Make sure you answer in a way that is specific to you. Never prepare generic answers such as “I work well as an individual, but also as part of a team.”
Make sure you have questions in mind. Make sure they are appropriate, and you are not asking them for the sake of asking them.
End the interview by thanking your interviewers. Never be tempted to end with a joke, i.e. “when do I start?”
And above all, relax!