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How To Have A Successful Job Interview

  • by: Ian Preddy
  • On: 18, Jul 2017
6 min read

As a global technical recruitment company, VHR is well equipped with top tips for interview techniques. Job interviews can be daunting, but remaining upbeat and enthusiastic is essential - as interviews are all about self-promotion and selling your skills. 

How To Have A Successful Job Interview:

Body Language:

The most important tip to remember is that it’s not necessarily what you say that makes the first impression; your interview begins the minute you step through the door, so take note of the following:

  • Smiling can immediately warm an atmosphere and ensure positive reactions. It will also calm you down as well as ease the rest of your body.
  • Make eye contact with your interviewer; this means connections can be made and engagement will appear confident.
  • Have a firm handshake and stand tall – slouching can make you appear either timid or bored.

Be On Time:

Always be on time for an interview, even if that means being early. Nothing makes a worse impression than being late - it can show a lack of organisation and poor punctuality. Below are a few ways to avoid being late:

  • Set an alarm far in advance; the earlier you wake up; the more time you have to prepare
  • Organise your outfit the night before, don’t rush in the morning as you may either make a bad decision or create unnecessary stress
  • Source the location of your interview well in advance as this will enable you to plan your transport route
  • Allow yourself extra travelling time to get to the interview; these extra few minutes before your interview starts will enable you to calm your nerves.
  • Print copies of your résumé and bring a notepad and pen

Research The Company:

Prior to your interview day, ensure you do your homework about the employer/company and the industry you are applying to be a part of. It’s almost a guarantee that you will be asked the question “What do you know about the company?” and you don’t want to be stuck for words. The best information to come prepared with is:

  • The company’s role in the specified industry
  • The interviewer’s name
  • The company’s clients (if they have any), partners, and competitors
  • Knowledge of the most recent projects, case studies, news, blogs and press articles

Practice Questions:

Practicing interview questions before the big day will enable help alleviate some stress and nerves - the more you prepare, the more comfortable and successful you will be at interviewing.

Practicing your responses to a ‘typical’ job interview question will enable you to think of examples that best highlight your skill-set. Make a list of requirements expected from the job role you are applying for, and then match them with your past experience, personality attributes and qualifications (provide examples of evidence for validity). Ask yourself, can you demonstrate from these questions how you've developed? Or is your answer too generic? Below is a list of questions frequently asked in job interviews:

  • Tell me what you know about this company?
  • Explain what you think you can bring to this role?
  • Where do you see yourself in your future?
  • What are your strengths/weaknesses?
  • Tell me about a time you best handled stress successfully?
  • What problems did you identify in your last job role and how did you tackle these?
  • What characteristics do you think are important to have for this job role?

Nevertheless, some of the world’s leading companies such as Google, Facebook, AirBnB, and Apple often ask incredibly difficult and quirky interview questions in order to separate the generic from the creative. Below are a few, weird and confusing examples:

  • On your very best day at work - the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world - what did you do that day?
  • If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing they would say you need to work on?
  • What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?
  • If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them how would you choose which ones to answer?

Additional, as well as preparing how to answer questions asked to you, also ensure you have a list of your own questions to ask the employer; this will highlight your enthusiasm for the company.

Be Confident:

Your skills, qualifications, and past experience are an integral to your success at a job interview. However, employers will also hire candidates based on whether they like them and whether they will fit well into the company’s culture. Therefore, it is important for the candidate to be confident, build rapport, and make a personal connection with the interviewer.

  • Find the fine-line between arrogance and pride; ensure you show dignity and modesty
  • Try to avoid cliché answers
  • Carefully outline that your strengths will solve their problems by making sure they’re based around achieving the jobs key requirements
  • Try to avoid a heavy use of adjectives and stick to data and facts.
  • With the likelihood of being asked “what are your strengths”, devise a list with examples to back it up

Show What You Know:

Try to relate to what you know about the company and how your experience is relevant when answering questions. For example, when you are discussing your career accomplishments, ensure you match them with what the company is looking for. Additionally, it’s a good idea to use specific phrases that allow the interviewer to acknowledge that you understand their company, for instance:

  • ‘I have noticed that..’
  • ‘I am aware of..’
  • ‘I appreciate that..’
  • ‘It is apparent that..’

Also, it is important to reflect on your body language also. One great tactic is to nod your head from time to time; this shows the interviewer you understand and agree with the points they are making.

Keep Calm:

Both before and during the job interview, try to relax, control your nerves, and stay as calm as possible; remember, your body language says as much as your answers to the questions do. Here's how to stay calm in a job interview:

  • Take deep breaths
  • Maintain eye contact with the interviewer to gauge their reactions
  • Listen to the entire question they are asking and do not interrupt
  • Take your time in responding with your answer - giving yourself just a moment before replying can help you stay calm and give a better answer
  • Try not to speak too fast – ensure they can understand you clearly
  • Be yourself and smile!

Follow Up:

After an interview, it is always both respectful and thoughtful to follow-up with a thank you email reiterating your keen interest in the job position. In this email, you could also include any remaining details that you may have forgotten to mention during your interview.

Send your thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. Following up on an interview not only shows the interviewer that you are enthusiastic and keen, but it also reflects your friendliness and leaves a memorable, lasting impression.

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