Learn How To Ace Your Interview
When you get the call/email inviting you to join for an interview, half the battle has already been won. The ball is now in your court and what you do in preparation will determine your next move.
There are 2 main types of 1st interviews
- The face to face is the traditional form, where you get a better chance to make a good 1st impression with your attire, body language, facial expressions etc.
- The more common is the telephone interview, which is also used as a form of filter if language and tone of voice are key characteristics of the job role you are applying for.
“Either way, keep calm and focus… breathe!”
The Face to Face
You have already done your research on the company and are familiar with the structure and industry you have applied for.
- Dress Appropriately – Plan your outfit ahead and make sure it fits well. You can ask the person planning your interview regarding the dress code, so that you don’t wear jeans to a company that expects their employees to dress up and vice versa.
- Familiarity is key – Before going in for the interview, look through your research on the company, so that you are familiar with their operation. This would help to contribute your ideas & comments when the interviewers discuss certain topics.
- Arrive at least 5-10 mins early. This helps to calm your nerves and also for you to get a glimpse of the office environment.
- Introduce yourself confidently – Stand tall when it’s your turn and walk in confidently, eye contact is key with everyone in the meeting room, smile and give a firm handshake when you introduce yourself.
“Hi, I’m Peter. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.”
- If you are unsure about a question, ask that it be repeated, or explained further, before you answer – It may seem rude to do this, however, it’s considered a trait of assertiveness when you ask for clarifications.
- If you need time to gather your thoughts before answering, ask for a few moments to prepare, so that the interviewer is not kept wondering why there is an awkward silence.
The Phone Interview
These can be tricky, if you are caught off guard. A company that is keen on doing Phone Interviews would generally ask if it’s a good time to speak with you.
- If you are in a quiet and comfortable environment, then go for it.
- If you are in a loud and busy place, then explain that it’s difficult to concentrate and hear and ask if you can call back as soon as you find a quiet area.
Note down the persons name and the number. They will be waiting for your call. Do not delay beyond 5 to 10 mins.
- Pretend that you are facing the person that’s on the other end.
- Smile – This not only makes your words sound better, it will make you feel more confident.
- Keep your CV close at hand, in case you need to refer to any general information on it.
- Have a scribble pad, if you need to jot down any details.
- Stand up while you speak – this would improve your confidence and make you sound more assertive.
- Before closing off the phone interview, ask what the next steps in the process would be. If a follow up interview is planned, jot down the date, time and location.
Ask for advice
If you feel the interview is not going that well, before the interviewer closes off the conversation, ask for advice. Most times, you may get a few good tips on areas to improve.
Make the interview work both ways
“The secret to landing a good job, is the ability to choose what’s right for you”
Evaluate the company on how they conducted the face to face interview or the phone interview and how they close the conversation.
“Did they seem eager to get you onto the next phase of the interview process?”
Pay attention to the interviewer and his/her demeanor. It can be an indication of the company culture.
- A relaxed, friendly and easy going interviewer may be a clue to a flat structured company that is relaxed and has a easy going culture.
- A rigid interviewer may be an indication of a hierarchical company that has strict policies and processes.