Smashing your interview isn’t as complicated as you may think – all it requires is mastering the basics. The current candidate market is fiercely competitive, and being able to stand out from the crowd is becoming increasingly difficult.
There are countless articles online that list various ways to ensure that you make a lasting impression and ace your interview, however, the subsequent result of these articles is that too many candidates now overthink the interview process and forget the basic, key skills that will help in smashing your interview.
There’s no need to worry about making yourself sound like the most innovative and phenomenal character ever, because, if you master the basics of interviewing then you’re guaranteed to always stand out. Things like preparation, body language, interview etiquette and asking interesting questions are invaluable skills for smashing your interview at any stage of your career.
First impressions, however clichéd, count. They are arguably the most important part of the interview, so be confident from the minute you enter the room. Offer your interviewer a firm handshake and introduce yourself clearly. Naturally, you may be a little nervous, but remember that this is an interview and not an interrogation, so find some common ground with your interviewer. Remember to thank them for inviting you in and let the conversation flow naturally. Also, remember that people employ people, not their CV’s, so let your personality come across.
The hiring manager will most likely have a list of questions to ask you and will want to understand your CV in more detail, so ensure that you know your CV inside out. Think about where you have added value to a business in some of your previous roles and structure them in the STAR interview response technique. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.
You’d be surprised how many people often don’t have a good answer to the question, “so tell me about yourself”. Story-telling is a crucial skill for interviews these days, and interviewers need to be engaged emotionally as well as just being told facts and figures about past experiences. Relating your previous experiences to the current position will help them to imagine you in the role interviewing for.
I believe that the most effective way to make a positive impact in an interview is to ask interesting and memorable questions. Here are a couple of standout questions that people have asked me in the past:
- What was it about my skills and experience that attracted you to my CV/Profile?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What would make someone really successful in the role?
Finally, if you feel like the interview has gone well, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback there and then. You’ll be surprised by the response you will get. Doing this will also give you the opportunity to alleviate any concerns they have with your experience.
Carl Hinett is our Director & Executive Search Specialist. If you’ve got a hard-to-fill role and need some help, get in touch
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