So you managed to get the call from recruiter telling you that you been shortlisted for an interview. What are the preparatory steps you need to take to impress the prospective employer?
Below are 5Ps that will help position you as a competitive candidate.
You need to be prepared for the interview.Do background research on the company that will be interviewing you. This gives the interviewer a view of your level of interest in the company and the position
- The organization’s mission and vision
- The organization’s recent achievements, appointments and news (e.g. mergers and acquisitions)
- Study the company’s online presence (website, Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn pages etc)
- Follow the company on social media and subscribe to their newsletters if they have any – that way you are constantly getting the latest information on what is happening at the company.
- Where possible, do a random call or visit the company and obtain the latest brochures, annual reports and any other publications featuring the company.
- Study the organization’s community and employees. This could be affiliations with national organizations or industry bodies
- PAGE THROUGH THE JOB REQUIREMENTS
- Read through the job spec or ask for one from the recruitment agent or HR department.
- Find out more about the position from someone who works for the organization. (e.g. by connecting with them via LinkedIn). Avoid connecting with people on a business level on platforms such as Facebook. Use professional networks like LinkedIn for this purpose.
- Speak to a colleague in your network who does similar work.
Clearly identify your unique skillset which will make you stand out from the crowd. This could include:
- Soft skills and character traits
- Industry expertise (e.g. you are an editor of an industry publication)
- Voluntary interests
Specify major accomplishments you have made at your previous roles or in the industry. E.g. developed a training programme for the sales team which helped increase sales or maybe you developed a new customer improvement programme.
Practicing what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. Do not try memorize, but be as natural and confident as possible in presenting yourself.
Switch off your cell phone when you arrive at the interview and leave it off until you leave.
How you present yourself in the interview—your clothing, appearance, attitude and body language sends specific signals to the interviewer.
Try these suggestions:
- Dress decent. Be tidy and well groomed.
- Keep a smile, introduce yourself and shake hands firmly with the interviewer when you meet. Remain standing until you’re offered a seat.
- Sit up straight with your feet on the floor. Leaning back can make you seem uninterested, while sitting on the edge of your chair can make you seem nervous.
- Keep your hands still in your lap or on the arms of your chair, except when you’re making a point. Don’t cross your arms.
- Make eye contact, and smile when it’s appropriate.
- DO NOT chew gum
- DO NOT put on strong perfume or cologne as this can be an instant turn-off.
The interview is your chance to demonstrate your suitability for the role.
- Use a pen and paper to make notes, rather than a laptop or other device.
- Follow the interviewer’s lead. Even unusual or irrelevant questions get asked for a reason.
- Listen closely to the questions so you can answer them accurately. If you don’t understand a question, politely ask the interviewer to rephrase it. If you don’t know the answer, say so.
- Take a moment to think before you answer a question. Be pleasant, sincere and direct. Stay on topic.
- Avoid answering with only “yes” or “no.” Try to figure out what the interviewer wants to know and answer with that in mind.
- Follow up after the interview with a thank you note or email that emphasizes 2 or 3 reasons why you’re the best candidate for the job.
These are some of the key ways you can make a lasting impression on an interviewer and boost your chances of landing your next job.