There’s a saying “you can only make a first impression once.” If this is so, then you better make the most out of it. The same principle applies when you are applying for a job. You have but one chance to impress your interviewer and get your dream job!
As it is with any fight, don’t hit the battleground without being equipped with the necessary armour to face the giant. I’ve listed down some practical tips to keep in mind before and during a job interview:
Read and Review Facts. How much you know about the company and the position you’re applying for signifies your seriousness with the job. While interviewers normally walk the applicant through some important company information, they would still let you “sing that tune” for them to see how prepared you are for the interview. Get some help from the internet to look for the company website and review important information such as its profile, nature of business and processes.
Practice Your Communication Skills. We can’t overstress how practice makes perfect. Enhance your communication skills by practicing your spiels such as how you would introduce yourself, your objectives, your strength and your skills (we will tackle on a separate topic “what to say” and “not to say” during interviews). Try to do a mock-interview with your friend or converse with yourself by speaking your thoughts out loud in front of the mirror – though that may sound like you’ve gone mad J
Wear Appropriate Attire. In most occasions, corporate or business attire is required to wear during interviews. This may vary depending on the nature of work or the type of company you’re applying for. But regardless of the circumstances, make yourself look as decent as possible and put that “cloak” of professional feeling on. I’m sure you don’t want to scare away your interviewer of your looks! J
Give Some Courtesies. Being on time is the number one rule of courtesy! Coming in late on your interview sends a negative impression right away no matter how extenuating the circumstances maybe. Research for directions and anticipate the required travel time (including traffic).
Flash a smile even if your interviewer looks intimidating. This creates the initial connection and sets the mood out there. When entering the interview cubicle, wait for your interviewer to offer you a seat. This is not a power-tripping or what, but a common courtesy just as when you are visiting someone else’s house.
Stop, Look and Listen. This is not a traffic rule of sort. It simply means: STOP unnecessary gestures, LOOK at the Eye and LISTEN Attentively. This is to avoid causing any distraction during the course of interview. Psychologically speaking, keeping an eye-contact signifies your sincerity with your responses. And by listening attentively, you are able to pay attention to important details and respond accordingly.
Speak with Confidence and Clarity. It is normal to feel nervous for a couple of seconds or so. But don’t let the butterflies in your tummy blow things out of proportion. Compose your thoughts and speak as clearly and briefly as possible. Some applicants tend to impress their interviewer with flowery utterances. This may work at some point but make sure not to miss the target.
Be Truthful and Honest. Build up yourself but never lie or exaggerate for the sake of pleasing. Give accurate information about your skills and competencies in order to help your interviewer match you with the requirements of the job. But also be honest with your limitations and areas for improvement in order to set the ground with your target employer. Remember that giving false information may also have serious implications later on with your work and could be used against you.
Ask Questions. Interviewers would normally let you ask questions or clarification at the end of the interview. If they don’t, you can bring it up politely without sounding too imposing. Clarify the “gray areas” of your discussions especially those that are of serious concern to you. In this way, you can gauge if you would still want to pursue your application later on or help you decide should you get an offer from another company.
Remember that you just have one chance to impress your target employer. There are hundreds of same specie as you in the battlefield so you better be prepared. But also remember to manage your expectations so even if you come home wounded, at least you’ve fought a good fight!