Making Job Interviews Work for You

Job interviews remain one of the most daunting aspects of adult life, and it is amazing how many of us still make basic mistakes when approaching them. By following a few simple tips, you will be surprised just how much you can increase your call-back rate.

Turn Up on Time – Nothing says ‘this person cannot be trusted to follow simple instructions’ like tardiness. If anything, arrive at your job interview 5-10 minutes early to show that not only are you keen, you are organised.

Do Your Research – Even if you are only applying for a temp job, it is important to give the impression that you care about the company and what it does. Take a quick surf on the company website the night before, learn the brand and mission statement, and this will demonstrate that you have taken the initiative to familiarise yourself with your potential employer.

Dress to Impress – A suit on either gender always works, but if you can not run to that, a blouse or shirt, dark skirt or trousers with smart shoes will suffice. Err on the side of modesty – no low cut tops or short skirts if you are a girl, and keep heels to 2in max. With make-up, jewellery and scent, remember less is more.

Firm Handshake and Eye Contact – Look at the person who’s interviewing you, and remember to smile.

Body Language – Slouching in your chair with your legs splayed may say ‘relaxed’ to you, but to a potential employer it just says ‘slob’. Similarly, sitting forward shows interest and keenness, but can make you look like an eager puppy. The best option is to subtly mirror the body language of the interviewer, and avoid fidgeting – it is a dead giveaway that someone is nervous.

Strike the Balance – Sell yourself, but do not be arrogant. Focus on the things that make you good for the job, not unrelated achievements that you like to brag about. You may well be asked what your best points are, so list those that are relevant to the job, not the fact that you are a great windsurfer! Do not be overly self-critical either – a potential employer does not want a negative, under-confident person on their team.

Difficult Questions – If you get asked something tricky like ‘What would you say your negative points were?’, turn it around and respond with something like ‘I guess I can be too committed to work, but I think that can be a positive too’. Do not take the bait and actually start listing your faults – questions like these are a test to see how you get around them.

Ask Your Own Questions – Most interviews end with an opportunity for to you ask your own questions – so make sure you have some prepared, to avoid that awkward silence at the end.

End Well – A smile, a handshake, and “It was nice meeting you,” is all it takes to round off an interview pleasantly. It also never hurts to say “I look forward to hearing from you” – it shows you are genuinely interested in the position.

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