I have had many first interviews myself over the past 10 years and have sat on the other side of the table and interviewed people for many roles within various companies. I know that whether it is job vacancy for a Call Centre or for a Support Worker there are some key insights your employer is going to notice. Here is a quick reference for anyone going to an interview to give yourself the best opportunity to shine.
1. Dress Code
You don’t have to wear a suit but it is important to dress smartly for an interview. This shows you appreciate the interviewer’s time and that you want to make a good impression, which speaks volumes to any company.
Be focused and positive in your interview, not a wall-flower or a know-it-all. Read the room and make eye contact and admit if you are feeling nervous. If you have been unsuccessful in work recently don’t being that attitude into the interview with you, as employers can read it all over your face.
Ok, you can keep the Pom Poms at home but showing genuine enthusiasm for the role can really make you stand out. Select the part of the role that calls to you most and explain why you like it in your own words. This shows you have learnt about the role and truly thought about it as a part of your life.
4. Work Experience
Employers can get nervous about ‘Job Hoppers’ (those who have less than 6 month stints at many different roles) but you can use it to your advantage. By highlighting the unified aspect of each role you can express a wider knowledge and show that you are resourceful. If you do not have any work experience offer volunteering information, or details on your budgeting and personal ‘life admin’ experience.
5. Further Development
A large number of employers during first interviews are looking for people who love to learn and may be taking further development courses or pursuing their hobbies further. Discussing Ted Talks or other interesting articles in your interview gives you a third dimension, your employers can see that you have passion and are in pursuit of it which helps them visualise you in their vacant position.
6. Company Knowledge
Even having a quick scan of the company’s website before heading in is a great idea and will again show your employer that this is a carefully considered decision and not a mere lucky chance.
7. ‘Correct’ Answers
There is seldom a right answer in interviews but how you answer is very important. Remember to drive a CAR! Cause, Action, Response is the ideal way to answer employers questions as it gives a beginning, middle and end to your answer. What happened, how you responded to it and why and what was the outcome. Please use a single scenario and not a generalisation as they want to know about you and not the role.
Ok, here is a secret. Doing interviews is dull and very tiring. It is refreshing for someone to empathise with interviewers and keep questions detailed but concise. Don’t feel like you need to rush out of there, but don’t feel that you need to fill every available second with your own voice. Please do not forget that interviews are for you to feel out the company as well, you want to make sure you can work with these people too.
9. Team Spirit
Bring in some Team Spirit by taking the receptionist’s name and mentioning how helpful they have been, call your interviewers by their first names and make a discreet note if you are prone to forget. Thank them for the opportunity afterwards and confidently offer a handshake as you leave.
10. Your Personal Experience
The employer knows what the role is, but they don’t know about you. Discuss the aspects of the Person Spec by highlighting your own experiences, again planning ahead if need be and matching your unique skills and experience to their requirements.
Important Note: If you are not successful in getting the job after the interview then it was not the right role for you. Large companies can favour previous employment or certain skills above your personal qualities but it is not an attack or personal decision. Shake it off and keep applying!