How to perform well in an interview
Making a positive impression at an interview will be critical to your success in securing the role you want. Within the first few seconds of meeting you, your interviewer will be subconsciously assessing your suitability. That initial subconscious assessment is something that takes a great deal of effort to change. Therefore your appearance, body language and behaviour in those first few seconds is critical.
The following points may assist you to perform well:
- Ensure that your dress, grooming and general appearance are appropriate for the role for which you are applying. If you are unsure of the appropriate attire, err on the side of conservatism and dress more formally. If you are a smoker, ensure that you do not smell of stale smoke. Turn off your mobile phone.
- It is normal to experience some stress or nervousness when attending an interview. Be aware, though, of any visible manifestations of this. (For example, if your neck flushes red when experiencing stress, wear attire that will camouflage this. If your palms become sweaty, wipe your right hand just before shaking hands with the interviewer.)
- Stand when you meet the interviewer and shake their hand. Make sure you smile and make eye contact. Wait for the interviewer to take their seat or until they invite you to take your seat. Sit straight. Lean in towards the interviewer to show interest. Try not to cross your arms. Be prepared to speak informally at the beginning of the interview.
- Listen carefully to the questions you are being asked. If you don't comprehend a question the first time, ask the interviewer to repeat it. Smile.
- Try to answer questions fully, concisely and with confidence. Use examples to illustrate points that you are making. Think before you speak and avoid "yes" or "no" answers. Smile.
- Respond honestly to all questions asked. Many interviewers are trained to recognise when an applicant is telling lies.
- If you have a sense the interview is not going well, don't show it. The interviewer may be testing your resilience to pressure.
- Speak positively about your current and former employers. Be as factual as you can and try not to speak emotively about difficult situations that may have occurred in the past.
- Seize any opportunity you are given to ask questions.
- At the end of the interview, confirm what the next steps in the process are. Ask if the interviewer has any concerns that you might be able to further address.
- If the job is one that you want, tell the interviewer this as you shake their hand before you leave. Your enthusiasm for the role is likely to be well received.
- As soon as your interview concludes, call the SHK consultant who secured you the opportunity. Share with them your perceptions of how the interview went. If you have concerns about your interview performance or the nature of the role, advise the consultant. The consultant will then be in the best possible position to take any remedial action necessary to maximise your chance of securing the role on favourable terms.