Tuesday 11 August 2015

How to Ace Your Next Job Interview

In the last couple of months, we went over the best advice our team gives to new candidates to help them write exceptional CVs and prepare for an upcoming job interview.

In the third part of our job-hunting guide, we take a look at what you need to do during the interview to make a lasting and positive impression on your future employer and greatly improve the odds of getting that email/phone call/letter asking you to report to the office next Monday.

Use visualisation to boost your confidence

It’s natural to feel nervous before a novel or important event. It’s your body’s way of priming you to be in your best form for any unpredictable or unexpected outcome, however, what’s the worst that can happen during a job interview?

In fact, negative visualisation is a powerful, yet very misunderstood technique, which can help you easily come to terms with your internal fears and provide your mind with an iron-clad protection against that tiny voice that keeps whispering negative things in your head.

Start visualising the things that can go wrong during the interview and either recognise them as being just absurd figments of your imagination or else see yourself confidently facing them and fixing them in your mind’s eye.

Know the different stages of a job interview

A quick search online shows that, depending on which website you click on, people organise the interview process into anywhere from three to seven distinct stages. No number is necessarily more correct that any other, so we’ll just stick with the most practical and easy to remember—three.

1.     Making introductions: No matter how many people there are in room, greet each one of them with a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. Repeat your name slowly each time and tell them you’re glad to be there. Make sure your body language reflects what you’re trying to communicating verbally.

2.     Building rapport: It’s easy to feel awkward while exchanging pleasantries—after all you’re only there to get the job! Don’t let this “selfish” thought derail you, you’re there primarily to make a positive emotional impact on your interviewers. Thank them for taking their time to meet you and use this as an opening to ask them politely about their work or a recent company event. You’ll come across as an interested and caring individual, who’s sensitive to others and knowledgeable about their company.

NOTE: Let your interviewer(s) focus the conversation on you and your credentials. Did you remember to practice some test questions from our previous blog post?

3.     Closing off: Don’t rush to the door as if you’re escaping as soon as the interview is over. Thank the interviewer(s) again and if you have time to ask anything, the two questions that matters the most as this stage is when can you expect to receive a reply and whether your interview can give you their business card.

Mind your language

We believe that during an interview you should use simple and direct language. Job-related jargon is okay if used occasionally and in a proper context, i.e. when making a point about some job-related scenario, but other than that we recommend that you avoid peppering your speech with technical words.

In fact we counsel that you keep in mind these 3 S’s when talking:
  • Simple
  • Slow
  • Straightforward

For most people, that last point is the most problematic. Our #1 advice for speaking in a more direct and powerful manner is to make an effort to abolish filler words (um… er… uh…) and replace certain “weak” words with stronger ones:

I can… à I will…
I think… à I’m confident…
I believe… à I’m convinced…
I feel… à I expect…

Also, whenever possible, back up your claims with numbers and concrete examples.

Follow up like a pro

Did you get your interviewer’s business card? Good.

The vast majority of people think that an interview is their one shot at getting a job, but the reality is that there’s a Part Two which is plays a more important role in setting them apart from all the other candidates, and that’s the follow-up.

About 24 hours after your interview (or on the following work day), send a brief thank you email to your interviewer and remind them about an interesting job-, company- or industry-related fact which they mentioned during the interview and your reaction to it. Bonus points if you attach a link to related web article.

NOTE: On Gmail you can schedule emails to be sent at a pre-determined time from beforehand by installing a popular and free plugin called Boomerang.

Many people let this golden opportunity at getting a second chance to reach out to their interviewers go to waste, but not you. With a follow-up email you’re taking advantage of psychological tendencies known as the primacy and recency effect, whereby people are more likely to remember what happened at the very beginning and end of an event or process, thus giving your job application a convenient “bump” in your interviewer’s memory.

Are you all set to get your dream job?

Do feel ready to give the best interview of your life?

Then take a look at the latest vacancies on our website and start putting our tips to practice.

Keep an eye on our blog for the final part of our job-hunting guide next month, in which we discuss what to do on the first day of your new job. To make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for our newsletter and we’ll let you know when it is published. You’ll also start receiving the latest vacancies on our website and other helpful career tips straight into your inbox.

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