Interview skills Some interview tips to land you that job

Your CV has got you an interview. Congratulations. Now you have to win the interviewer over. Here are some interview tips to land you that job.

Arriving for your interview

  • Aim to arrive at the interview 10 minutes ahead of time. Too early or too late and you may upset the interviewer.
  • Take a few minutes to relax and check your appearance.
  • Introduce yourself to the receptionist and mention your appointment. Chat to the receptionist or whoever greets you.
  • Greet the interviewer and introduce yourself. Shake their hand firmly (not too firmly) if offered. Practice your handshake if it is a little weak.

Expand on each point with your personal experience

Simply stating a series of headings such as “I am a good communicator” or “I am organised” is not proving that you can do something and has no impact. You need to back up the claims that you make with examples from your experience. Use the STAR method to help you achieve this.

Use active verbs and power words to describe yourself

  • If you want to make a strong impact you can’t use expressions such as "I was involved in" too often as they reflect a situation in which you played a role rather than the role itself.
  • You should use words and verbs such as: "I played a key role in", "managed", "elaborated/built on", "was instrumental in", "achieved", "proposed", "derived", "I am proficient/competent in", "I am confident in", etc.
  • Avoid ‘we’ always use ‘I’.
  • Avoid ‘may’ and use ‘will’.
  • Always use the most positive words and make it about you.

Behaviour and body language

Your body language will give a lot of information to your prospective employers about you. They probably will not be looking at it specifically (unless it is so bad that they can't miss it!) but they will be subconsciously affected by it throughout the interview. Here are some tips:

Maintain a good posture

  • When seated plant both feet onto the ground so that you remain stable.
  • Put your hands on the table (people who place their hands below the table come across as having something to hide). If there is no table (or only a low table) then simply rest your hands on your lap.
  • Keep yourself upright, with a slight slant forward and relax our shoulders. Slouching is bad body language!

Limit your hand and arm movement

  • It is okay in your body language to move your arms and hands around, this shows personality and enthusiasm. However, it becomes a problem if they distract and take the focus away from your face. If you have a tendency to fidget in a very distracting manner, intertwine your fingers and rest your hands on the table or in your lap.
  • Never cross your arms. You will look unreceptive, guarded and lacking in confidence.

Smile

  • A nervous smile is better than no smile at all.
  • Smile when you are being introduced to each member of the interview panel. With this body language you can build a good rapport.
  • It is also perfectly acceptable to laugh if the situation occurs (but avoid making jokes).

Maintain eye contact

  • If you do not make eye contact, you will come across as evasive and insecure which is poor body language.
  • If you stare at people too much, you will make them insecure. There are two situations here: either you are being interviewed by just one person, in which case you will have no choice but to look at them all the time; or you are being interviewed by more than one person. If this case, then look mostly at the person who is asking you the question, and occasionally glance aside to involve the others (they will be grateful that you are trying to involve them into the conversation even if they have not asked that particular question).

Beware of the props

  • If you have a pen and notepad with you, avoid fiddling with it.
  • If they offer you a drink (tea, coffee, water, etc.), make sure that you can cope with it and that you won't need to go to the toilet or start crossing your legs half-way through the interview. Be cautious if you are really nervous you may have a spillage or show your shaking hands to the interviewers.

Questions for the interview panel

Always have questions ready to ask the interview panel. This is your chance to show you are confident, that you plan and are organised.

Here are some ideas…

Other

If an interviewer prompts you to get the answers that they are looking for it can mean one of two things:

  1. The interviewer likes you and is more tempted to prompt you and push you along
  2. You are not answering the questions to your fullest potential

However, be warned some interviewers mark down when they have had to continuously prompt. So again practice your STAR technique and go through some mock interviews with the questions we have provided; give as much detail as possible.

Adapted from information found on ISC Professional: http://www.interview-skills.co.uk

 

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