Greet the interviewer with a firm handshake, and wait to be asked to sit down. Do not slouch as this sends out all the wrong signals, as does crossed arms etc. Keep your body language positive by smiling, maintaining good eye contact and sitting up straight. Body language can be as important as the answers you give, so use it to show you are upbeat and enthusiastic about this role.
The interviewer is there to find out what makes you tick: questions like ‘Where do you see yourself in five years time?’ have no right or wrong answers, only opinions, so try to be honest as well as positive. Any answer you give could be correct, but be aware that you will have to EXPLAIN them – that is why they asked. For further details, see the ‘Facing Tough Questions’ article.
Nearly everyone has had the odd hiccup when it comes to exams. For those who haven’t, this section of an interview poses no problem, but for the rest of us it can be more awkward. If you have had a problem in the past bring it up yourself and deal with it before the interviewer uncovers it. By revealing it yourself, you prevent the interviewer from putting you on the defensive. Your reasons for a failure or poor grade may be perfectly reasonable, for example serious illness. If so, mention them but excuses like: ‘It was a tough paper’ sound awful and won’t impress an interviewer. Remember to stay positive: if you failed due to a lack of study, demonstrate that you’ve learned for this, and matured from the experience.
Previous experience will help you sell yourself to a prospective employer, so try and relate any you may have to the role for which you’re interviewing. Even if your experience in some areas has been brief, it is still worth mentioning it, especially if it is relevant to the role. Sometimes an interviewer might say that you lack the experience for the role: if this is the case, don’t give up and let your opportunity slip past! Concentrate on your skills, any relevant experience you have had and your willingness to learn and develop. You have a perfect opportunity to really sell yourself, so don’t waste it!
At the end of the interview you will usually get the chance to ask questions: these will work best for you if they are based on your research and any issues raised during your discussion. It’s worth jotting down any questions you might have during the meeting so that you can refer back to them later. Don’t be afraid of making your questions tough – for example, if your research on the company has shown a dip in forecasted profits then ask about it. Remember to keep your questions businesslike and relevant. For further information on the question and answer section of an interview go to ‘ANY QUESTIONS’.
You may feel during the interview that you don’t want the role, and that the interviewer is boring you silly, but don’t switch off. You may find that the interviewer has nothing to do with the day to day role and has not sold the position well. You’ve made the effort to attend – see it through to the end.
The best way to approach any interview is to treat it like it’s your dream job: you’ll kick yourself afterwards if you miss out through lack of effort.