Over the last 20 years, I have seen it all in terms of successful and unsuccessful interviews! You might be a good fit for a role but an unsatisfactory interview will cripple your changes. Very few people out there are “serial interviewers”, only recruiters do that for a living! The interview is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from other candidates, to showcase your ability, skill and interest in the role.
Before the interview pay special attention to the following:
Prepare – this is crucial! Study the client’s website and social media pages as well as the role and what the job expectations are.
Make sure that you know where they are and be on time.
Brush up on your CV – know your CV inside out. If you had your CV designed by someone else, know what it says about you. Remember your CV is an advertisement for you.
Wearing the appropriate outfit for an interview speaks louder than words. Find out what is the company culture is and make sure that your outfit matches it. If you are working with a good recruiter, they will inform you of the company culture and dress code for the interview. Keep in mind that an interview is a formal setting in which the client sees you for the first time and first impressions last. Ensure that you leave a good one!
Here are a few tips on what to wear:
- Make sure that your clothes, shoes, nails and hair are clean
- Have a fresh body odour – and beware of strong fragrances
- Stay away from too much jewellery, big earrings and dangling bangles
- Lastly – think of what message is your clothing sending – do I look the part, professional, hard-working and trustworthy?
Body language and manners are fundamental. There are different generations in the workplace at the moment, from the baby boomers (aged 55 to 73) to generation Z (born after 1997). You might be a millennial interviewing with a client who is a baby boomer. Do your research on how to approach different people.
Manners never go out of fashion! Greet, say please and thank you, don’t chew gum, speak clearly and sit up straight during the interview. Greet people with a firm handshake, a smile and make eye contact.
Being yourself, confident in your ability and differentiating yourself from others interviewees will set you apart and will ensure that a client remembers you. Remember: “You are You, that’s truer than true!” – Dr Seuss. No one is like you, be yourself, be honest and respectful.
When you get asked about your reason for leaving the current company, never badmouth a previous or current employer. Give an exact reason, be honest and factual, but not running anyone down. Please be mindful that “better prospects” is not an acceptable reason for leaving. You need to dig deeper into what is the real reason you wish to change jobs. Be honest and explain why you want to to move.
Partner up with a good recruiter in your career search. A recruiter who has your best interest at heart and is dedicated. Some recruiters will give you a quick call and send your CV out to the world, or even worse, do it without your permission. Over the last 20 years, I have seen the impact that a good recruiter can have on someone’s life. Partner up with a recruiter that you trust; it will be a lifelong relationship with someone who always has your best interest at heart!