This is obvious stuff, but a surprising number of job candidates don’t adhere to these basics in job interviews and in order to ensure that you are not eliminated from the process, you need to get the basic things right.
Arrive on Time
It is imperative that you arrive on time – or rather never arrive late. If an emergency comes up and you cannot get there in time, call the company as soon as possible to make them aware of the situation. However don’t arrive so early, that you are sitting in the corridor/reception area more than 15 minutes. Arriving 5 minutes early is more than sufficient, besides, who wants to get more nervous sitting in unfamiliar surroundings.
To ensure that you do arrive on time and that the process of getting to the interview is not too stressful, do some research and learn where the interview is located, the nearest parking, or public transport drop off point, as well ascertain how accessible the building is.
Professionalism is highly valued at all levels and everything you do will be judged in some form by the selection panel or interviewer. Omit behaviour that might exclude you from further consideration, such as chewing gum, smoking, tapping your pen on your portfolio, using slang, or light swearing, no matter how comfortable you feel during the interview. I also strongly recommend that you switch off your mobile.
A significant amount of communication is nonverbal and although it is unlikely that you will be interviewed by a trained professional, that will be able to tell that you are lying when you tug on your ear, or fail to make good eye contact, you still need to be aware of your body language in the interview room.
Offer a firm handshake, but don’t squeeze the hand so tight that it is knuckle breaker.
Maintain eye contact when you’re talking, but don’t stare. When speaking to the panel (if a panel interview), direct your eye contact across to all panel members, (apart from the person/scribe, taking the notes).
Sit facing the interviewer, not off to the side.
Lean slightly forward, so you look attentive and interested in the process.
Keep your hand out of your pockets and avoid excessive gesticulation (remember how annoying it is when people gesticulate widely, when being interviewed on television).
Undertake some background search – your competitive edge!
Research can really allow you to hone in on the needs and exact requirements of employers (if the job advertisement provides this information).
Research is an integral part of your job search. Most job-hunters think that you simply need to read a company’s website just before a job interview – but they are wrong. Your research should go further, so you really understand the company.
Before you go to interview, spend some time to Google the company for:
- Company and Industry newsletters
- News clips
- Finally, the company’s website
Key elements that you need to know about a company
- The company’s goals and mission
- Any products and services offered
- Any recent changes in the organisation, or newsworthy events
- A brief overview of the company history
Once you are equipped with this knowledge, then you are in a position to use this information to help shape your responses for a job interview and ask the right questions.
Yes, they are the basics, but get these right and you have significantly improved your odds of securing the job.