Ten essential tips for the perfect job interview

You’ve spent hours writing the perfect cover letter and resume, handled the phone interview like a champion, pressed your suit and polished your shoes for that well-earned job interview appointment, so now what?

Many people assume that just by being friendly, confident and reiterating what they have written in their resume, they will have the job in the bag, but with the current job market, you could be up against as many as three to four hundred other applicants!

Top Ten Tips

It’s definitely a good idea to be just as well prepared for your interview as everything else, so here are ten tips to help you through:

Tip #1 Research Your Future

You have put so much effort in to win this job, so the least you can do is learn about exactly who you’ll be working for, what your role will entail and who you’ll be working with. This will not only ensure you have made the right decision to pursue a job you may have for decades, but it will also help you immensely in the interview. By having a thorough understanding of these concepts, you’ll be able to better answer (and ask) interview questions, ensuring that your responses fit well with the company.

To research, check out the company’s website (ensuring you download any published materials available), newspaper clippings, forums and even ask your personal contacts if they know anything about the company.

Tip#2 Learn all the common questions

Almost every interviewer will use at least some of the most commonly asked interview questions, such as ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’. If you can master these questions prior to being interviewed, you’re halfway through it already! Think about how these questions will fit into the context of the company you’re applying with and formulate comprehensive, yet concise responses.

You’ll find these types of questions by simply Googling ‘most commonly asked job interview questions’

Tip#3 Dress the part

I’m not going to tell you to dress nicely and present yourself neatly – you already know that (well, I hope you do!). Instead, I’m going to ask you to consider the smaller details. First, make sure your attire is appropriate to the position you’re going for. Keep accessories to a minimum and don’t do anything dramatic with your hair. Consider removing body piercings and covering up tattoos. Don’t eat or smoke just before your interview (they will smell it) and don’t do anything messy after you put your clothes on. Finally, don’t forget to bring your glasses if you are a glasses wearer.

Tip#4 Don’t be tardy

This is a no brainer – first impressions last and if you can’t even be on time for your interview, that says a lot about how timely you’ll be in the future! Have everything you need prepared the night before your interview and arrive a minimum of 15 minutes earlier than your appointment time so that you aren’t flustered when you arrive.

Tip#5 Be nice

Don’t just be nice to your interviewers though, be nice to any other staff member you encounter too. Just because the scruffy guy you tried to avoid when you walked through the door looks like a cleaner, it doesn’t mean he is! Also be nice to other interviewees, as the management will likely be watching you very closely to see how you interact with others. Similarly, don’t ever badmouth previous employers or colleagues.

Tip#6 Tell the truth

Please don’t try to get a job you’re not qualified for or try to outdo other applicants by attempting to lie our way through the interview. The interviewer will see straight through it and you’ll likely end up being caught in a lie – if not now, then in the future. Be yourself, act confidently and answer questions thoughtfully and concisely. Everybody has their good features, so highlight yours by giving demonstrative answers that highlight these skills.

Tip#7 Relax

Or at least, display comfortable, relaxed body language. This doesn’t mean you have to act like a koala who has found a bounty of gum leaves, but by smiling, maintaining comfortable eye contact, having an upright but comfortable posture and showing you are actively listening by focusing your attention on the interviewer (rather than the dust bunny in the corner), you’ll show you are engaged and happy to be there.

Tip #8 Ask Perceptive Questions

Remember all the research you’ll have done in step one? This is where that research comes out to shine! Time and time again, research has shown that a person who asks insightful questions during a job interview, is more likely to score that job. By asking well thought out questions, you are showing that you are extremely interested in the position and value the company.

Tip #9 Highlight your soft skills

While your hard skills (or prerequisite qualifications) are essential to getting the job, it’s the soft skills you have that will put you above the other applicants. Prior to your interview, write down a list of all the soft skills you have that are applicable to the position and mention them during your interview. Are you a mother or father who is going for a position that requires multitasking?

Great, mention that you have been juggling the many responsibilities of parenthood, whilst at the same time, being treasurer of your local P&C and volunteering as baker at the local cake stall. Are you a great diplomat who has helped solve conflict between colleagues in your last position? Use it!

Tip#10 Send thanks

Following your interview, make sure you thank your interviewer in person as you leave, but then, follow up via phone, email or post a few days afterwards. This not only shows you have lovely manners, but it also puts you into the forefront of the interviewer’s mind again.

Good luck!

The CFS Team
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