How to Make a Good First Impression at an Interview
Finding happiness at work can be anything from improving how you feel in your current job, all the way to a complete career change.
Whether you're looking to pick up some tips for your very first job interview, you haven't been to an interview for a while, or you think you could improve your interviewing technique there are a few things you can do to prepare before hand and make sure you're doing during the interview to absolutely nail it.
Before the interview:
1. Research, research, research
This may seem obvious, but researching the company even if you think you know a lot about them is the first way you can prepare yourself. You can never research a company enough. Find out the basics, maybe look them up on Google News to see if anything significant has happened recently (more relevant for large companies) and look up competitors. Knowing how the company you're interviewing for differs themselves from their competitors is useful for an interview and also if you get the job!
2. Make notes
When you're researching the company, make sure you take notes. Also use it as an opportunity to highlight your key skills, and how they will help you with the job. This is almost like revision, and it will help you to remember any key points you'd like to show off when you're in the hot seat.
3. Pre-empt any questions they will ask you
Doing interview role play with a family member or friend will allow you to prepare for unexpected questions, and help you to think on the spot.
4. Prepare some questions to ask them
The biggest top tip which people often don't do. At the end of an interview, you'll usually be asked 'do you have any questions for us?' I once interviewed some people and when I said 'do you have any questions for me' the interviewee is usually flabbergasted. But it's good to be inquisitive. Don't use this as a time to ask how much holiday you'll get, or whether they will allow you to bring your dog to work. Leave these questions until you've got the job.
The type of questions here will be about the business itself. i.e. if you're applying for a role in social media, you might ask "With the rise of video use on social, do you expect that you'll offer this to your clients in house?" or something about the success of the company, or new product launches. Essentially what you want to show here is that you've done your research. Only ask a few questions.
During the interview:
1. Body language
Whether you get nervous during an interview or not. Think about your body language. Don't fidget, but use hand expressions to show your confidence (even if you're not feeling it). Open up your body language by putting your shoulders back and sitting up straight. Open out your arms, and put both feet firmly on the floor (no crossed legs here!).
Body language is both mental and physical. Think about yourself as a strong woman who deserve the job of her dreams, and use this persona to ooze intelligence and confidence. Think like this a few days beforehand and you'll feel the anxiety melt away and excitement flow in as you talk about your achievements and why you deserve the job.
A lot of the things we've talked about already will help you build up your confidence for the interview. Preparation is key, as is body language. But if you're feeling nervous, there are still a few things you can do to make yourself appear, and therefore feel more confident:
- Articulation - speaking clearly will make you seem more confident
- Mood - an interview is a good thing! Smile, be friendly and laugh
- Make pleasantries and small talk at the beginning and end
- Show them your personality through body language, speech and hobbies
- Relax! It's only an interview, what's the worst that could happen.
3. What makes you the right girl for the job?
Give specific examples of relevant work you've done in the past that fit the job description.
4. Don't read off cue cards
The best piece of advice I was ever given was not to read off cue cards - whether you're giving a presentation or not. Firstly, you'll speak more naturally if you do, and you'll also appear to know what you're talking about (which means you'll believe you know what you're talking about!)
I was made redundant at 21 which lead me into a spiral of interviews. Believe me when I say relax, it's only an interview. Give yourself enough time to prepare for each one, and don't over extend yourself. I once had so many interviews in one week that I forgot which job role I had applied for at one specific interview. The interviewer asked me "So, what appeals to you about this job role?" I froze...my mind went blank...and then I started crying. True story. I was mortified. Don't stress, recruiting the right person takes time so they will wait for you if you need more time. Learn from your interview experiences and learn what works for you.