First of all, well done on getting a job interview at all; companies potentially have to wade through hundreds of applications, whittling them down to a shortlist. Even getting that far is an achievement, though you will, of course, want to go one step further and land that dream job.
The purpose of a job interview is not solely to decide whether you have the capacity to perform the tasks assigned to you.
The purpose of a job interview is to form a rounded impression of suitable candidates professionally and personally to decide whether they have the motivation and personality to succeed, thrive and develop in a particular environment and field.
With that in mind, here are five of what we think are the top tips for maximising your potential at job interview and landing the job you want.
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
You wouldn’t go into an important exam without revising; the same goes for a job interview. Make sure to arm yourself with a good knowledge of the company and role; the interviewers will almost certainly ask about your range of knowledge. An in-depth understanding of the company displays enthusiasm.
Try to anticipate the questions your interviewer is going to ask; it’s good to prepare answers to as many questions as possible. But you can be sure that you’re going to be asked questions about your competencies and how they apply to that particular role.
First Impressions Are Everything
Leaving a good first impression may not secure you the job in question, but not doing so will almost certainly scupper your chances.
Ensure you dress neatly and smartly; a suit is the usual expected standard for men, while a nice blouse or shirt for women tends to work well. Turning up on time helps too; if you turn up late to a job interview how late will you be for work?!
Be confident, friendly and polite too, but don’t get too personal. Remember, you want to leave a good impression, but this is a professional meeting; your interviewer is not your friend, yet.
Stay Calm Under Pressure
Every interview is going to yield a tricky question or two and panicking in the face of adversity is not a skill your prospective employer is looking for. Stay cool, calm and collected, answering everything thrown at you to the best of your ability.
Don’t rush into your answers either. No one expects you to have formulated an answer off the cuff; collect yourself, consider your answer and then speak. Making sure you do this will ensure you provide the best account of yourself.
Almost every interviewer or panel will offer you the opportunity to ask a question at the end of an interview. Do not, under any circumstance, turn this opportunity down.
Asking questions demonstrates that you’re deeply interested in the role and can help you find out a bit more about office culture or what working at the new company will be like. But don’t ask questions about money or time off – no employer wants someone who’s more focused on time off than on the job.
What Never To Do
There are, of course, numerous things you should avoid doing at interview; you want your prospective employer to go away with the best possible impression of your nature, personality and work ethic.
While being negative about your previous employer may not seem directly harmful to your chances of landing your dream job, bad mouthing in general does not reflect well on you.
The same goes for rambling (be succinct), lying (you’ll get found out), being too personal (your financial situation isn’t important), discussing remuneration or time off and swearing. Remember to give the best possible account of yourself.