Your CV is generally the first introduction you have to a company or recruiter. However, your CV is really just there to get you in the door for an interview. Once you are invited for an interview then it’s make or break. An interview establishes more than just whether or not you can dress yourself and ‘can like speak good and stuff’ but what makes you, you. It confirms that you are not lying on your CV but it also delves into your interpersonal skills and creates a moment for the interviewer to get to know some of your leadership and communication style. It is a real face to face moment to see if you will fit into the company and whether or not you would actually like to build a career with that specific group of people.
Here are a few things that we think are important to keep in mind to help you stand out when you go for an interview. While this list is not exhaustive – it should help you stand out from the crowd!
1. Be punctual – nothing says “I can’t lead myself” like arriving late.
Every time we have to sit and wait for a candidate that is late for an interview it leaves us thinking “will I be happy to send them to my client?”. When you are late, no matter the reason, the interviewer feels that their time is being wasted. That is not the kind of start you want when trying to land your dream job. You want the interviewer to leave thinking that you will be a good investment and not a possible resource drain!
2. Dress professionally – this may seem obvious but looking the part goes a long way.
While this does not mean that you need to necessarily wear a tie or 3mm of makeup it is important to dress like you are already on the job. When doing research about the company find out what kind of dress code they hold. If it is a smart environment and everyone wears ties and high heels then this is not the moment to “express your unique style choice of no shoes and a tie dye shirt”. If you want to work there you may need to adjust your wardrobe slightly.
3. Remain calm – you are there to offer your service as much as they are there to offer you a job.
This is a massive one as we tend to say some pretty awkward things when we are nervous! Breathe. You are there to offer a service to a company as much as they are there to employ your services. After all – there are two types of employers out there…those that will hire you and those that won’t. You are just trying to find the ones that will hire you and go from there.
4. Smile – you will come across calmer and more confident when you smile.
When we get nervous and are trying to be serious we can easily overcook it. Practice smiling before you leave for the interview. Remember that smiling actually releases tiny little dolphins that swim around your blood stream and make you happy. Or was that endorphins? Anyway…rather smile than frown!
5. Maintain eye contact – this shows respect, confidence and that you are engaged in the conversation.
Interviewers are looking for that confident person that is going add value in the role they are looking to fill. Eye contact shows that you are engaged and ready to be put to work and make a contribution. It shows confidence and self assurance. Hey, even if you are not 100% sure of yourself it is better to fake it till you make it rather than awkwardly shuffle your feet and look at the desk. It will help to ask a friend to “fake interview” you the day before to test your new found confidence.
6. Speak slowly and clearly – good communication is key to being heard and understood.
Mumbling and speaking too quickly may put the interviewer off as they may worry that you won’t be able to effectively communicate with other employees or possible customers/clients. Speak slowly and do your best to pronounce your words clearly. Interviews can range from 15 minutes to 3 hours so don’y try and rush your way through your answers or questions.