An interview can be the difference between getting your dream job or not, so it is important you can make it as perfect as you possibly can. I speak to many candidates on a daily basis that feel nervous about interviewing so when I am preparing my candidates for interviews I always make sure I run through the 3 p’s with them.
The first P of a successful interview is the preparation; I believe that this is the most important part of the interview process. Preparation can come in many forms and I advise that most of these techniques are used.
Do your research on the company you are interviewing for. Go on their website and make notes, always have a few bullet points that you can refer to in your interview if asked. Knowing the company and what projects they may be involved in gives you an advantage when answering questions from the interviewer. It gives you the opportunity not only to answer their questions but to also have questions for their questions. Always remember that an interview is a two way street and you need to get as much information about the role as they need to get about you.
This point may be a little obvious but make sure that you have the right equipment to take with you. I advise that you take enough copies of your CV for everyone in the interview, a minimum of 2 pens, a note pad and anything you have been asked to prepare. When asking questions I believe that it shows more interest if you are writing down their answers rather than just taking in all the information, it also gives you a reference point later down the line when it comes to making a decision.
Make sure that you have some questions prepared before the interview as at the end when they ask if you have any it is good to have at least 4-6. Yes, sometimes these questions may have already been covered off during the interview but as previously mentioned you need to get as much as you can out of them so that you can make sure that the opportunity is right for you as well.
Make sure you are prepared for their questions as well, have answers ready for standard interview questions and make sure you are ready for the curveballs. One question that always stumps candidates is about strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you know what yours are and how you are going to answer it. Always try to do a positive spin on a weakness. Make sure that you know your history and your goals.
In some interviews you will be asked to put together a presentation or to prepare for a whiteboard assessment. Preparation is key in this part of the interview. You need to make sure that you can get all of the information requested across in a clear and concise manner. Make sure that you understand what is being asked of you and it is completed in plenty of time so that you can do the next P in my list.
Nowadays when going for a permanent opportunity or a technical interview you will be asked to put together a presentation or prepare for a whiteboard assessment. Once you have done all of your preparation, “Practice makes Perfect”, it is a good idea to go through your presentation as this can help you iron out any mistakes and also help to settle your nerves for the day.
A presentation is all about confidence and performance. You need to know what you are talking about and be able to maintain eye contact. If you are constantly referring back to the presentation or simply reading it this may come across as unprepared.
There are a number of effective ways in which you can practice your presentation and it depends on which one is more comfortable for yourself:
- You can practice by yourself by going through it in an empty room to make sure that you can pronounce and deliver the presentation correctly.
- A lot of people like to practice whilst looking in a mirror as this enables you to see yourself and how your body language may come across to the interviewer.
- Most people will tend to get a friend or family member to present to. In my opinion I think that this is the best way to practice as you will be able to get feedback from another perspective and hopefully some constructive criticism.
The final P in the list is Positivity. It is always important to go into an interview in a positive frame of mind. There is nothing worse than conducting an interview with a candidate that comes across as negative or seems disinterested. Positivity can be displayed in a number or ways:
Someone that is passionate about their field and also the company that they are interviewing with will ultimately come across in a good light with the interviewer.
Make sure that you are enthusiastic in the way you are answering questions and delivering questions, this will keep the interviewer more engaged.
A lot of candidates forget that body language can be a very important part of an interview. A candidate that slouches in the chair crosses their arms or constantly fidgets can come across as lazy and disinterested. I would recommend that a candidate always sits up straight and looks the interviewer in the eye when asking and answering questions.
Again another mistake candidates can make is involuntary facial expressions. When asked difficult questions candidates can sometimes screw up their face or frown which can come across as negative to some interviewers. I would advise to try and keep a positive facial expression as much as possible.
I firmly believe that if a candidate follows these simple steps then they will have a better interview experience. An interview can be a very daunting experience but if you are Prepared, Practiced and Positive an interview can be a good experience where you will come out with more than you went in with.
What is your best interview advice? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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This blog was originally published on LinkedIn. To read the original article click here