If you’re reading this – well done! It probably means you’ve done enough right to get yourself in front of a prospective employer for a face-to-face interview. That means your CV has done its job and you’ve nailed your telephone interview.
As part of our Candidate Resource Centre, we’ve compiled some tips on how to go into that room and ace a face-to-face interview. For some more senior-level jobs, or those that involve specific competencies, there are other considerations, but from experience, there are some fundamentals that apply to any interview for any job.
What not to do
It’s worth starting on what we think causes most rejections in face-to-face interview’s. If you can remember these points, it’ll help inform how you behave and what you say at interviews:
- Not being friendly or polite.
- Poor appearance.
- Poor communication.
- Failure to realistically project yourself for the role.
- Lack of confidence or enthusiasm.
- Being overly critical of former employers.
- Evidence of being overly fickle in previous jobs.
What you should do
With those in mind, let’s address the most important points of what you should do. Get these right, and you’ll be giving yourself the best possible start.
It’s a slightly unfortunate fact that appearances do matter. You don’t have to be a model, but you should dress as well as you possibly can. There are some fundamentals to this – make sure everything is clean and pressed, make sure you are clean-shaven and generally look tidy. Making the first impression is really important.
Not just to the people interviewing you, either. Anyone and everyone that speaks to you should see your most effusive and pleasant side – particularly the receptionist.
We’ve hammered this drum a few times before, but there’s no harm in saying it again. Be as prepared as you possibly can be, especially with questions and information about the company.
Practice your answers
Not all interviews will be the same, but most will be similar. Think about the typical questions and prepare some responses. Don’t try to remember a script, but just think about why you want the job, your strengths and your weaknesses. If it’s a technical interview, do a bit of revision and try to work from core principles.
Here are a few other practical points to remember for your face-to-face interview:
- Be on time, and research the route so you can account for delays. Make sure you have a contact number in case you’re late.
- Be familiar with your CV, and take a copy.
- If in doubt, check how to pronounce interviewer’s name with the receptionist.
- Body language. When you enter the room or meet the interviewer, be confident. Speak clearly, make eye contact, and have a firm handshake.
- Body language, part 2. Once you’ve sat down, don’t slouch or fidget. Remain engaged and attentive and don’t switch off even if you think the interview is going well.
- Be positive – about the job you want and the job you’ve got. It won’t come off well if you disparage your current or former employers.
- Keep your cool – if an interviewer challenges you, you can be firm and persuasive but never get angry or lose your temper.
These may seem like a lot of points, but success basically comes down to a few things: being enthusiastic, being polite and being prepared.