If you are going for a job interview, you know just how important it is to make a great impression. The old saying is very true: ‘You never get a second chance to make a good first impression’.
Job interviews can be daunting; yes, we all get nervous when it is our own career at stake; yes, no matter how experienced, we become anxious when talking about ourselves. No matter how welcoming the interviewers, it is difficult to avoid the feeling that you’re being grilled. The very structure of a typical panel interview creates a ‘them versus you’ scenario.
However, there are ways to make a positive impression at a job interview. What follows is some age-old advice to ensure you give yourself the best chance to land that job, thanks in part to the impression you create.
Be honest about yourself
Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised at how many people simply aren’t honest about themselves – and how much that can come back to bite them! Yes, there is a balance between portraying yourself in the best possible light and being truthful. BUT you really want the interviewers to make the correct decision and it will not help your career to be appointed into a role you aren’t suited for – so be honest about yourself, your accomplishments and what you seek.
Be engaging and energetic
It can be difficult to be engaging and energetic in a formal interview setting, however make it a point to be enthusiastic, energetic, warm and open. Make eye contact. People are reluctant to employ people for their organisation who don’t appear to be friendly and warm. We’re not talking about false displays of energy or suggesting you bounce around, but don’t be a lifeless figure who provides minimalist responses.
Showcase your strengths
Don’t focus on your weaknesses or what you can’t do – instead, showcase your strengths and what you can do. In your interview preparation be sure to remind yourself of your achievements and then look for opportunities to present them during the interview. Presenting concrete example of your capabilities will demonstrate to the interviewers how & why you can be a valuable member of their team.
Leave them wanting more
Job interviews are not the forum to download your entire life story. I’ve seen so many people talk themselves into, then out of, a role by going on and on and on………So instead of sounding desperate by trying to explain absolutely everything about yourself in just an hour, leave them wanting more. Show off your strengths, be a professional and leave on a high note instead of having the interviewers continually checking the time.
Your questions of them
Typically you’ll be given an opportunity to ask a few questions. My all-time favourite is the senior person who (supposedly) asked “would it be a problem if I’m angry most of the time?” Prepare meaningful questions to (a) obtain information on aspects important to you; but also (b) which demonstrate that you’ve researched the opportunity. AVOID the cliche questions such as ‘what do you expect the person to accomplish in the first X months?’
Well-dressed and presented; a good handshake; eye contact; and a warm smile will carry enormous weight in terms of the impression you will create. Some of the best advice I was ever given was to SMILE. Also remember that when you smile, the other person doesn’t see your nervousness, they see your excitement!