Dressed for success - it's not all suits and ties

You’ve put on your best suit, arrived at your interview early and rehearsed your answers, so why are you still so nervous? Job interviews are a rather unnatural social interaction, so it’s often difficult to predict what will happen, how you should act and even how you’ll handle the inevitable pressure you’ll feel.

Tips and Tricks – Dressing Up for Success

Tip#1 Appear neat and tidy

As the heading says, dress for success. This is NOT the time to be shrugging off the shackles of society with your individual fashion statement. Sure, you’re an individual, so you want to give an impression of the ‘real’ you; however, if you turn up for a receptionist position in a trench coat, Doc Martens boots and torn jeans with purple hair and a dozen facial piercings, guess what – you’re not going to get the job!

Tip#2 Don’t try to be someone you’re not!

Despite popular belief, interviewers aren’t looking for the slick, polished go-getter that has been considered the standard since the 1980s. Really, they just want to see the real you. In fact, the majority of interviewers have become expert bull poop spotters over the years, so trying to act like something you’re not put up immediate red flags.

Tip#3 Be confident in yourself

This may seem to contradict the previous point, but it doesn’t. Being confident in yourself means to believe in your own abilities and stop questioning whether you’re good enough for the role. Unless you lied excessively on your resume and during the phone interview, the interviewer already likes what they see, so stop worrying!

Tip#4 Maintain positive eye contact

There’s nothing worse for an interviewer than having to spend an entire interview either speaking to the top of your head (because you’re avoiding eye contact by staring at a spot on the floor), or feeling uncomfortable because you’re staring at them like a loony creep. An interviewer wants to see you to connect with them, so maintain an appropriate level of eye contact.

Tip#5 Use positive body language

Before you walk into the interview, take a couple of deep breaths. While you’re in there, relax as much as is humanly possible under the circumstances. Don’t slouch though – sit up straight so you don’t appear lazy or disinterested, but keep your shoulders loose, face your body towards the interviewer and use an appropriate level of hand gestures to convey confidence and comfort. The interviewer will expect a certain level of nervousness, but they also want to see that you can handle the pressure without crumbling into a heap. It may seem silly but practicing in front of a mirror definitely helps.

Tip#6 Practice makes perfect

Expanding on the point made above, practice as much as possible prior to your interview. Borrow friends or family and conduct mock interviews. Record your voice to see if you are speaking clearly and confidently and write down a variety of answers to questions you think may be asked. Make sure you know what you’ve written on your resume, as you may be quizzed about it.

Tip#7 Research your role and the company

Have a basic understanding of the company, their ethics, mission statement and current direction. Have a thorough understanding of the role you’re applying for. If you don’t and you’re quizzed about it – it will look very bad. If you’re not sure of some of the responsibilities you’ll be taking on, look it up.

Tip#8 Make your stories interesting

When you’re asked to relay a story about earlier achievements etc., make it count. Don’t be generic – let the interviewer know about your achievements and how you’ve used your best skills in an interesting (but honest!) manner.

Tip#9 Listen carefully and answer the questions

If you’re not quite sure what the question was, ask for clarification. Don’t just ramble on in the hopes that the interviewer will move on to the next question.

Tip#10 Ask your own questions

Don’t ask generic questions and definitely don’t ask about things that have already been mentioned in the job description, like what your wage will be. Instead, try to ask a question that shows you’ve been listening to the interviewer, or something about the daily processes of the position you’re applying for – basically, anything that shows you’re thinking more deeply than just the basic details.

Tip#11 Smile!

Don’t forget to be polite, smile and show that you’re happy to be there. Good luck!

Dressing up for Success

Thankfully, it’s the age of the internet so it’s so easy to research interview tips, company information and even discover some of the most frequently asked interview questions with the click of a button. We’re happy to contribute to this growing database, so here are a few interview tips that will help you get through your next nervous interview and hopefully, land you the job of your dreams!

The CFS Team
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