Our careers expert helps you impress in an interview.
When on the hunt for your dream job, getting ahead of the applicant pack is tough. Glittering experience and a formidable skill set count for a lot, but your rivals' credentials are likely to be glistening too. To really stick out from the crowd, you have to know how to impress in an interview. That means being confident, channelling positivity, sharing specifics and offering up the very best version of yourself.
Our careers expert, Amanda Augustine, sat down with SheerLuxe to discuss some of the things candidates need to express during their interview to stand out. Most importantly, she talked about how hiring new employees costs a company both time and money, so a serious applicant must show they're 'as committed to solving challenges and achieving goals' as the employer they're pursuing. You can see the SheerLuxe article in full, but read on for some of Augustine's tips to help land your dream position with an impressive interview.
1. Take control
Nervous about a job interview? That's totally normal. If you aren't feeling a twinge of apprehension, your heart's probably not set on the position. It's only when nerves affect your behaviour and make you appear less confident that they become a problem.
To steer clear of the 'shrinking violet trap', you need to take control. That means radiating positivity, speaking confidently of your attributes and laying out clearly ‒ and without equivocation ‒ why you're right for the role.
This, of course, should be conducted politely and without arrogance. The aim is to portray yourself as an assertive go-getter, not an obtrusive bully.
2. Focus on your development
Nailing the case for why you'd be great in the current opening is fundamental in an interview, but don't be afraid to ask about future prospects. Short of appearing presumptive about landing the role, enquiring about your potential development can really impress an employer.
'I love when candidates ask the following question: “If I was hired for this role, what would a successful first year look like to you? What are the key things you'd like to see me achieve?”' Augustine shared.
'This question impresses me for a few reasons. It shows me that the interviewee is confident in their ability to get the job and is genuinely interested not only in their own development, but in helping me and my team succeed', she added.
3. Say something specific
The 'Tell me about yourself' question is about as common as it gets with interviews, but it's deceptively tricky to answer well. Naturally, most candidates will start listing off their various attributes and qualifications.
All of this can be found on their CVs however, and will do little to demonstrate the specificity that recruiters are after. Instead, you should be linking your experience to the given role, explaining why you're personally well suited to the position.
When doing this, it's easy to wander down an irrelevant path. Anecdotes that demonstrate your professional aptitude are fine, but babbling away about family, friends and holiday plans ‒ however charming ‒ will put a recruiter right off. In short, keep your spiel specific!
4. Take it seriously ‒ and stay calm
Nothing turns off a prospective employer like a candidate who's not willing to give their all. If you're emitting a half-hearted vibe, you can kiss that job offer goodbye. So, in three words, take it seriously!
That means putting in the prep time, booking up on the company's history and ethos, investigating thoroughly what the role involves, and coming equipped with questions of your own. If you're applying for a junior role, treat it like an interview for an intermediate position. If it's a mid-level job you're pursuing, approach the sit-down as you would a top-tier opening.
Crucially, however, don't let this quest for sincerity dampen your enthusiasm and energy. Above all, don't pile too much pressure on yourself ‒ focus on remaining calm and collected.
5. Be a good listener
It's all well and good knowing what to say in a job interview, but you've also got to know when to button up and simply listen.
Being a good listener conveys a positive sense of conscientiousness and shows your ability to absorb information and follow instructions. Listening is also a key to effective teamwork; illustrating your powers of silence in an interview go a long way for showing your potential in group scenarios.
Remember, a good listener isn't just about biting your tongue when others are talking ‒ it's about engaging mentally with what's being said and reflecting on your response. So don't let your mind wander the moment your mouth stops moving! When it's your turn to speak again, be sure to respond with specifics that show you were really listening, not just waiting to recite your rehearsed answer.
Follow these tips and your chances of a job offer will skyrocket. But remember, successful candidates aren't the ones who adopt one or two good practices; they're the ones who blend them all into a seamlessly perfect performance. So take control, focus on your development, stay specific, take the interview seriously and remember to listen closely … and your career progression dreams will soon be a reality!
Before you can impress in an interview, you need to impress with your CV. Find out where you stand with a free CV critique from TopCV.