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10 ways to (really) ace that interview

by 1st Contact | Apr 02, 2013
  • If you’re in the job market, you’ll know how competitive it can be. Make sure you put yourself a few steps ahead by giving the best interview you can give with these simple, but powerful tips from our Job Assistance team.

    1. Do proper research

    Well before your interview, research the company thoroughly. Find out as much as you can about what they do and how they do it. Read press releases and make sure you know a few of the company’s recent successes or accolades. Check their website, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page and any other resources available. Work on understanding the company’s need and how you can add value. Look at the challenges and opportunities they are currently facing, their market, competitors and industry as a whole.

    A lack of knowledge about the company will be translated into a lack of interest, which spells disaster. Don’t make the interviewer feel that they are just one of many companies you are applying to. By being thoroughly prepared, you will ask intelligent questions and be able to engage in a conversation, rather than just an interview.

    2. Google yourself

    If you are researching them, chances are they will research you too. So make sure your online persona is as professional as your interview persona. There’s no point arriving in a 3-piece suit with a shining CV and all the right answers if a Google search brings up pictures of you chugging away at a beer funnel. So check your Facebook privacy settings and ensure that anything that comes up on Google is respectable.

    3. Practice

    You don’t want to mutter and stumble over your words when the interviewer says: “Tell me about yourself” or “Why would you be an asset to this company?” Know what you want to say and rehearse your answers so that you come across confident and capable in your interview.

    4. Come armed

    Always have a (working) pen and a neat notebook, so that you can make notes of important things that come up. You could for instance have a brilliant idea while chatting with the interviewer about your potential role; or you may want to take down notes about what would be expected of you. A calling card is also good idea – not your current work business card, but rather a general calling card. This can be paper-clipped to your CV and will already make it stand out from the pile. Have extra copies of your CV handy, and carry your things in a professional satchel or briefcase.

    5. Arrive calm

    Before the interview, try to find a few moments to breathe and relax. You don’t want to arrive with sweat patches under your arms or a nervous tic. If you are calm when you arrive, you will put the interviewer at ease and come across as confident. You will also create the impression that you are there because you want to be, and not because your desperado.

    6. Make a great first impression

    Your clothes, shoes, clean fingernails, neatly trimmed hair and facial hair, handshake and even your scent can play a large part in the impression you create in the first 3 seconds of meeting your interviewer. Put a smile on your face, make eye contact and give a firm, confident handshake. Don’t be late, as this creates a bad impression even before you have the opportunity to show off your new suit and haircut.

    7. Be appropriate

    Many interviewers are put off by inappropriate questions and behaviour. Switch your phone off, no matter how badly you want to tweet about your interview. Don’t ask about benefits and sick leave in your first interview; don’t badmouth your previous employer; and don’t swear, even if your interviewer has a mouth like a sailor. Don’t flirt, even if you could swear there’s chemistry and don’t whatever you do, give too much personal information. (“My landlord kicked me out of my flat and I caught my boyfriend in bed with a Taiwanese stripper, so I really need this job” is NOT interview material.) Don’t fidget, look at your watch or touch things on the interviewer’s desk.

    8. Create rapport

    Use basic communication and body language skills to create a rapport in your interview. Smile, make genuine eye contact throughout and match your interviewers pace and tone. (For instance, if the interviewer is inclined to speak slowly and deliberately, try to do the same.) Find common ground – the person conducting the interview might show passion around a certain topic (e.g. customer service) – demonstrate your skills and feelings in this department and match their passion.

    9. Match your skills with their needs

    Find out why they are looking to fill the position. What need exists within the company that YOU would be the very person to fill? Demonstrate examples of previous ways you have made an impact. If for instance they have previously outsourced the IT function and are now looking to hire an in-house technician, affirm their decision by listing ways you believe this to be a good move on their part. Then highlight why YOU are the best person for the job.

    10. Leave a lasting impression

    Finally, make sure you leave the interviewer with an even better impression of you than when you first met (with your perfect hair, shiny shoes and million dollar smile). Say the interviewer’s name, shake their hand again and thank them for their time. You could even go so far as to say you enjoyed the interview and would love to be a part of the team. This is also a good time to hand over your calling card. One last tip – seemingly trivial, but which can make or break your interview – make sure your car is clean. Assuming you arrived by car, the interviewer might want to walk you to your car. This is an interviewer trick. If you came across as neat, organised and efficient, but your car looks like tip, it will destroy a good impressions or rapport you worked so hard to build.

    We hope you take benefit from these interview tips and use them to your full advantage the next time you’re called in for a job interview. If you need help revamping your CV or securing interviews, visit our job assistance page and let our team assist you with finding the perfect job for you.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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