Most of us are a little apprehensive and nervous about attending interviews. It could be because we really need to get that job for better prospects or simply because it is our dream company which we wish to join. The interview result will show us what our job-market worth is, which is also a scary prospect.
It would help to remind yourself about why you have been called for an interview in the first place. It is because the basics about you is alright. If you were unfit on the basis of your CV then they would not have called you. The interviewer wants to know first – hand if you can do the job and fit into the organization.
I have been on both sides of the interview table and I think the solution lies in understanding what has to be conveyed and communicated, and I can assure you that there is no magic pill for that.
Here are 7 essentials for succeeding at job interviews.
1) Don’t neglect the basics
– Dress in appropriate attire and be well groomed. When in doubt go for formal attire acceptable in that country or city.
– Be on time. It is obvious, but it is also amazing how last minute hitches get you late- Check the route, allow for traffic and make sure that you are early enough to catch your breath and relax for 15 minutes before the interview.
– Creating the first impression starts even before the interview. So be pleasant to everyone- the receptionist, the junior kid who is coordinating, the assistant of the interviewer, or someone offering you a drink. And never sit at the reception of an office and converse continuously on your mobile phone. Most people consider it bad manners.
– Relax – it creates good body language. Desperation, nervousness and tension show. Consciously try to relax. Do some deep breathing. And make sure your hands are not sweaty because a handshake with a sweaty palm puts people off.
– Keep your documents organized. Carry several copies of your CV. Keep your cell phone switched off. When you are called, enter confidently, smile and wish everyone present giving full eye contact.
Remember the person on the other side of the table is a human being not a warrior you have to defeat. So be respectful, courteous. Smile, be nice but be formal.
2) Do your homework to know & show your interest in the company
The best way to convey that you are interested in the company and job is to do your homework. Research the company thoroughly before an interview. By doing this, you will be able to answer well when interviewers ask you questions like: What do you know about our company? What are our products? Who are our competitors? How can you add value to our company?
You can ask a few questions at the interview but never ask about the basics of the company’s activities and products/ services. Also go through the job requirement you are applying for. Do not demand a full briefing at the interview.
# Do your homework- Research the company on Google. Check out their website. Hunt for their latest press releases. Check out their social media presence. Research on Linkedin by searching the profiles of other employees working there.
3) Focus on communication not performance
An interview is a communication between people not a judgment call on your brilliant interview performance.
Remember you are not delivering a recital about how great you are. You have to convey through your conversation and discussion why you would be suitable for the post, what you can contribute and why you fit in.
# Listen and respond. If someone asks you a question, stick to answering it rather than delivering a sales pitch on your greatness.
4) Discussing holidays and work timings is avoidable
Most people universally believe that a candidate who is a stickler for holidays and work timings is not flexible and is self centered. This is because companies want to believe that a candidate is coming with the promise of delivery. Even if the cost is unreasonable- like working on all holidays, company before family or being available on beck and call at all times.
# Avoid discussing holidays and timings at an interview. Focus on other things like the job you have to handle.
5) Salary Negotiation
How much should you expect? This is a tough question.
Never talk about salary unless it is brought up by the interviewer. It is avoidable to discuss salary at an early stage before impressions are made and you get some idea from the interviewer on what the company has in mind.
Do you have the correct inputs on what the company is offering? Do you know the structure of the perks and benefits the company has? Does the company have fixed grades? These are aspects that can be researched before an interview or one can simply reach this point towards the end of an interview when both parties are ready and interested. That is when you can probe for this kind of information.
Not negotiating at all may not be advisable as it can show desperation but aggressive hard line negotiation is also not advisable.
# Don’t commit. Saying you expect a jump over you present salary- like 20- 30% is okay or it can be more if you are sure that your market value supports it. Say that you would like to know what the company has in mind. You cannot negotiate unless you know at what level the negotiation starts. A benchmark has to be established. Don’t presume anything. You may even get a good deal without bargaining.
6) Be alert and attentive
Listen carefully to what is being said and asked. If you are thinking while someone is talking to you then you are not really listening. This is not good because then you are not going to be accurate in your response.
You will be asked questions about yourself, your achievements, your shortcomings, how your involvement saved or made the company money, reduced expenses, solved problems, saved time, etc. Be prepared to talk and answer.
# Keep a sharp focus. Give direct answers. You can ask questions if you want, but keep it very brief.
7) End the interview well and send a follow up mail.
It is the interviewer who decides when the interview is over. Make your exit well. Thank the interviewer and for the opportunity and time spent with you.
#Follow up after your interview. You can send a mail including the following points:
– Thank the interviewer . If there were more people present then mention them in the note. Remind the interviewer why you would be useful to the organization. Give a brief summary of how your skills and experience fit into the role they are looking to fill.
– Remind them about you. Try to be specific. You can quote a specific aspect that you discussed in the interview. It may help to them to remember you in case they have been meeting several candidates.
– If there is any new information that you missed during the interview you can cover it briefly in your mail.
– Your follow up email should be kept brief and only cover the essential information. Your mail should act as merely a reminder and be sent within 24 hours of the interview.
So go ahead – Listen attentively, talk and answer keeping these 7 points in mind. If you come across as a good, genuine person who can work well and deliver, then – “You have got the Job!”
If you need any advice regarding interviews, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com and I will gladly answer your questions.
If you need help getting to the interview stage, send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE evaluation and tips on how to create your CV perfectly in order to get noticed in the job market.
Copyright © 2015, Lima Sehgal
Lima Sehgal is Publisher, Author and Career Solutions Specialist.