During a job search, getting an interview is only step one. Hays’ Robby Vanuxem has some tips to help ensure you make it to step two.
Preparation is key for any job interview. Below are a series of steps you should take leading up to the event, to help maximise your chances of success.
The week before the interview
Do your homework
Research the company and its background beforehand. Search for information online. Find out who will be interviewing you, and review the job description in detail so you understand it inside out. It’s also worth researching news or activities relating to the specific industry, as this shows interest. These tips will help you with your pre-interview homework.
Prepare your questions
When asked by the interviewer if you have any questions, have a few ideas up your sleeve. This demonstrates that you’re prepared, enthusiastic and committed to the role and the company. Try to think of less obvious but interesting questions that will set you apart from other candidates.
Practise your interview technique
Think beforehand about how you can best demonstrate your skills and experiences in an interview. This can make you feel more confident on the day. If you’ve been asked to give a presentation as part of the interview process, give it a final run-through, make sure you’ve got prompt cards and try to make it as compelling as possible.
Plan your journey
Spend time prior to the interview working out how you’ll get there. Look up public transport routes and timetables, or find out where you can park. Plan how long the journey will take. Do a practice run if necessary. Aim to arrive about 15 minutes early.
Clear your diary before and after the interview, so you can stay fully focused on the event. In order to give the interview your total attention, you don’t want to be preoccupied with other things that need to be done that day.
The night before, or morning of, the interview
Don’t cram any last-minute interview preparation in just before bedtime, as this could disrupt your sleep. Relax before bed to ensure you get a restful night’s slumber, so you’re firing on all cylinders the next day.
Eat a healthy breakfast or lunch
Fuel yourself with slow-releasing carbohydrates prior to your interview, such as porridge for breakfast or wholemeal sandwiches for lunch. These will keep your energy levels topped up for longer, so you stay alert and don’t suffer any energy slumps during the interview.
Avoid alcohol at all costs.
Stay calm and confident
Naturally, nerves will begin to kick in, but try to stay calm and confident. Take deep breaths and practice positive, self-affirmative thoughts. If you’ve done adequate research, you shouldn’t have anything to fret about.
A final read through
Give your research and preparation a final glance before the interview to keep it fresh in your mind. Now isn’t the time to be doing any new research.
Don’t forget printouts
Make sure you’ve got printouts of your CV with you, as well as any other supporting information, such as references or a portfolio. Pop a notepad and pen in your bag just in case you need to write anything down.
Make sure you dress appropriately for the job interview. You must look professional. Try checking out the LinkedIn profiles of the company’s employees to get an idea of how they dress.
Don’t leave ironing clothes to the last minute – it’s best to do this the night before, so you feel as organised as possible.
On arrival at the interview
A friendly, professional greeting
When you enter the interview building, greet reception staff in a friendly, professional manner. If possible, find out the name of the receptionist so you can break the ice with a personal greeting. Introduce yourself and explain that you’re there for an interview and provide the name of the interviewer.
Adopt a professional approach when you’re waiting for the interview, using positive, confident body language. Now isn’t the time to check your social media accounts or WhatsApp your friends. Instead, switch your phone off before you enter the building and leave it alone until afterwards. If there are any corporate brochures to hand, flick through these while you wait.
First impressions count
It’s a fact that first impressions count, so as soon as the interviewer approaches you, ensure you come across as personable, professional and courteous. Stand up straight, smile, make eye contact and extend your hand. Say hello and introduce yourself, stating that it’s a pleasure to meet them, and thank them for taking the time to see you today. Attention to detail can go a long way to securing your dream role.
In summary, give yourself the best chance possible for interview success by preparing well in the lead-up to your interview. Use the week before to brush up on your techniques and knowledge of the company, the night before to get a good night’s rest, and the interview itself to showcase your organisation and diligence in preparing for this interview.
Robby Vanuxem is the managing director of Hays Belgium, a role he took on in 2015. Vanuxem has been with Hays since 2002, first as a consultant and then as business director, regional director and, later, operations director.
A version of this article originally appeared on Hays’ Viewpoint blog.
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