First Impressions Count – Interview Tips

It is always beneficial to imagine the entire interview process prior to your interview so this is what you need to prepare for and how to go about it. Once you have followed these guidelines you will have already experienced the interview so the actual interview will be a piece of cake! 

Studies have shown, the overall impression that people make in the first few minutes when meeting is based 7% on what the other person says, 38% on how he or she says it, and 55% on what the other person SEES so groom yourself well and dress appropriately. 

Pre – Interview: Fail To Prepare: Prepare To Fail

  1. Research – it is very important that you research the company as well as the individual who will be interviewing you. Be sure to find out the particulars of this individual. Check out his/her Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media profiles.
  2. Dress Code – dressing appropriately for an interview is key. Match your dress to the employees in the workplace where you are interviewing. Perhaps dress a bit more formally to make a good first impression. If the employees’ usually wear suits then any prospective employee should arrive at an interview in a suit. If employees are in dress pants and dress shirts or skirts and blouses, then I would suggest that you should still wear a suit. If the dress code is very casual, you should wear dress pants and a dress shirt or a skirt and blouse. 
  3. Punctuality – arrive in the area or suburb with plenty of time to spare but wait until five minutes before the interview before entering the reception/lobby area.
  4. Manners Maketh The Man – remember to be pleasant and polite in your interactions with everyone you encounter because you never know who has influence, who may overhear what (out of context) and what impressions you may make without knowing it!
  5. Be Organised- bring a nice portfolio or binder and a pen (no advertising logos or chewed up caps). Ladies should not bring both a portfolio and a purse. Do not bring your cell phone to the interview. Do not chew gum.

The Interview: Curbing The Interview Nerves

Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can help people feel better.
Here are the key steps to follow in the interview:

  1. Greet the employer with a firm handshake, good posture, making eye contact and with a big smile. Ensure to greet the employer by name (Mr., Ms.) if you can pronounce it. If you cannot, politely ask (and remember it for next time)!
  2. Don’t sit until the interviewer invites you to sit. Once seated, sit slightly forward in your chair with a good posture. Make eye contact with the interviewer for a few seconds at a time. Smile and nod (at appropriate times) when the interviewer is talking but don’t overdo it.
  3. Be polite and keep an even tone to your speech. Don’t be too loud or too quiet. Don’t lean back. You will look too casual and relaxed. Keep your feet on the floor. Pay attention, be attentive and interested. Listen and don’t interrupt.
  4. Stay calm and don’t fidget. Hold a pen and your notepad or rest an arm on the chair or your lap, so you look comfortable. Don’t let your arms fly around the room when you’re making a point.
  5. Be yourself in the interview because the employer wants to see the real you. Take time to think through and organise your responses. Do pause and mentally regroup as needed.
  6. Be specific and honest in your answers. Select relevant information that will demonstrate your strengths for the job for which you are applying. Use examples to support your statements. Turn negatives into positives. Show tact, maturity and courtesy.
  7. Be professional and use professional language. A sense of humour is a plus when used appropriately. Sell your knowledge, skills and experience. Be prepared to ask questions.

Post Interview: The Importance Of Follow-Up

Follow-up should be the number one commandment for anyone serious about getting a job offer.

There are two simple steps that you can take to make a lasting impression after your interview and greatly increase your odds of your success:

  1. Call the interviewer to thank them for their time.
  2. Immediately write the interviewer a short note, thanking them for their time and re-emphasizing your interest in the position. Do your best to get it to the interviewer as quickly as possible. Hand deliver it if necessary. The quicker your letter arrives, the greater the likelihood of having a positive impact.

These tried-and-tested tips will definitely help you make a great impression at your next job interview.

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