How to ace your interview

1. Plan ahead

Plan your route carefully, allowing for delays and traffic. We recommend you:

  • Look up the location on Google Maps.
  • Check for nearby parking if you are driving.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes early, so you have time to relax before the interview begins.
  • Save the office number into your mobile so you can easily get in touch if you're running late running late. 
  • Save the interviewer's email address, in case they don't pick up the phone.
  • If you are driving  a car that is not in the best condition, park away from the office where it cannot be seen. People can be judgemental. Plus, being out of visibility means you can sit and prepare without being watched. 

If you are running late for your interview:

  • Apologise. If you are able to reschedule, you should apologise for being late in the first instance. Be sincere and professional in your apology, strike a balance between saying too much and too little.
  • Keep your message direct and brief. Don't go into too much detail as to why you are late - provide information, not excuses.
  • Have a good reason. Not all reasons for being late are considered legitimate. Generally actions out of your control will be treated with more sympathy than those within your control.

Once you have been in touch and apologised, you should let your contact know exactly when you expect to arrive. You can then work together to figure out what the next step will be. 

Stay calm and confident. Being late for your interview can be stressful, and this cause you to perform poorly.

Focus your thoughts on how well suited you are for the position and how prepared you are for the interview.

Takeaway - arrive 15 minutes early - if you are running late, call ahead and apologise.


2. Be nice to everyone

This goes without saying. From the very first conversation you have with a recruiter, to greeting the receptionist, to any friendly banter in an elevator. No matter how good you are – people only hire people they like! So be likeable.

Big tip: Be nice to the Receptionist

Most interviewers get feedback from their Receptionist. They will check to see if the candidate was polite, if they said ‘hello,’ or if they asked the Receptionist how he/she was. Many candidates have lost out on job opportunities by not treating the Receptionist with politeness, respect and a friendly manner.

The purpose of the interview

You have been invited to an interview because you look great on paper - you seem to have the experience and qualifications the recruiter is looking for. While the interviewer will seek to clarify your technical capabilities, 80% of the interview will be about your personality and how you interact with the people you meet. Very few people want to work with an unfriendly person, or someone they don't get along with.

Takeaway - smile, be friendly and corteous and create a relationship.


3. First impressions count

You may not be a sales person, but on the day of the interview, you are. You are selling yourself.

From the moment you walk in the door, the pressure is on. You have to make a stellar first impression.

Dress appropriately for the interview – your attire is a statement about yourself. The interviewer needs to be able to visualise you in the position.

A firm handshake, eye contact and a warm smile will also go a long way.


4. Be prepared

Spend time getting to know the company and the position you are being interviewed for. A lack of preparation and knowledge shows disinterest. You want to be asking questions that show you’ve done your homework, for example:

  • Can you tell me what the current team structure is?
  • What would a typical day in this role be like?
  • Why is this role currently available?
  • What have you enjoyed most about working here?
  • What is the next step in the process?

Having to refer to your CV or worse - asking the interviewer to remind to remind you of information - is really unimpressive. You should know your employment dates as well as your completion dates for any qualifications listed.

Review the cover letter and CV you submitted. Be prepared to expand on your CV in relation to the position you have applied for.

Have a copy of your CV and any other necessary documentation with you just in case. More than likely, they will have a copy ready, however, some interviewers may be pulled in at the last minute and will definitely notice your forethought.

Know exactly what makes you a perfect fit for the position. Keep in mind that it’s not all about you - identify and understand their needs or pains. This will make a big difference when competing with other qualified candidates.

Remember, they are running the meeting. You engage, but at the end of the day, this is their show. You need to demonstrate that you know your time and place.


5. Practice makes perfect

Prepare responses to typical interview questions. Think about specific workplace experiences that highlight your accomplishments. You don't need to memorise answers, but know certain points of reference about yourself that you can apply to different questions.

Practice by role-playing in front of a mirror or use your video on your mobile phone. Practice makes perfect and, if this turns out to be the job you really want, it would be a pity to miss out due to lack of preparation. Often 4-5 hours interview preparation is required for each interview.

Takeaway - don't assume you can "wing it" on interview day - practice!


6. Be professional

You should remain professional during the interview no matter how casual the office atmosphere is. The company might have a jeans and T-shirt culture, but you are still there for an interview and need to make the right impression. If you dress professionally and present yourself well, the interviewer is more likely to see you as competent and capable of doing the job.

Do not complain about your previous boss or colleagues under any circumstances.

  • The interviewer will see this as a reflection of how you will speak about them in future.
  • It makes you look like a whinger, and no one wants to hire someone with a negative attitude, no matter how good your CV is.
  • Industry professionals run in the same circles. So if you’re seeking employment within the same industry, chances are that your potential employer knows your former employer.

7. Finish strong

At the end of the interview, reiterate your interest in the position and thank the interviewer/s for their time.

Thanking each of your interviewers by name will add a personal touch, which will leave a good impression.

Don’t forget to thank the Receptionist who greeted you on arrival on your way out too!

You could also write a thank you email to the interviewer/s within 24 hours of the interview as a follow up.


>