How To Make Your Interview Memorable
Provided by: Sarah Ivens, author of A Modern Girl’s Guide to Networking, published by Piatkus
You’re selling yourself and trying to improve your future – so what makes you think you can turn up in a dirty shirt with a hangover. You must be interesting, alert, clean, smart, entertaining, honest and humble.
In fact, let’s make it simple. These are the things you must not do:
Do not arrive late. Look up where you’ve got to get to and leave with 30 minutes to spare for traffic, emergency toilet trips, and so on.
Don’t dress like a tramp. You make the greatest impact in the first 17 seconds of the interview, and in that time all the interviewer really has time to take in is your personal hygiene, your wardrobe choices and your handshake. Keep colours subdued, patterns simple and do be conservative – gold lame mini-dresses are never good, least of all in an interview.
Even if your mind has gone blank and you’re feeling like an extra from Shaun of the Dead, remember not to zombify totally. Smile, make eye contact and sit up straight.
Research! Why are you better than the many other qualified, charming modern girls who have applied for this job? Read up, learn the facts and prepare a few sensible, relevant questions for the end of the interview.
Don’t smoke, drink, chew or blow gum bubbles during an interview. ‘Nuff said.
Yes, the interviewer wants a full answer – but not War and Peace. Don’t go rambling on and on and on. Keep your answers clear and focused. Also, on the subject of chit-chat, do not interrupt the interviewer or talk over the top of them. Make sure you listen properly to everything they say.
If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Keep it shut rather than backstabbing and bitching your current company, colleagues or boss. Moaning and nastiness will send out the wrong vibes and you’re better than that.
When the person asks what your weaknesses are, use only the ones that can be turned around into a lesson learned or a positive. Think carefully about your qualities, skills and accomplishments to sell them without over-selling them. No one likes a show off.
Fit your interview banter to the job and the company you’re applying for. Practise the interview in front of a mirror or with a friend. Explain how your career history and education would benefit the company.
When your time is up don’t just go on about your salary expectations and what kind of package you desire; you should leave the interview with a firm goodbye speech stating why you want the job and why you’d be brilliant at it. And, again, a good, firm handshake.
‘In my job as a recruitment consultant, I see it all. But the most impressive interviewees are those who have real passion and spark. They’ve done their research but they’re not boring you with it or asking you lots of questions. They want the job – they tell you as much. Their answers are short and to the point, and they look me in the eye when they’re telling me. My pet hate is fidgeters – I don’t trust applicants who can’t sit still. If you get nervous, sit on your hands or hold a copy of your CV to stop the wriggling.’
How to be impressive on the phone
Whether you’re doing a phone interview, a conference call or cold-calling a company you’d love to work for, a good telephone manner is essential. Try the following:
Smile – you can hear it in your voice
Keep a pen, paper and calculator to hand in case you need them
Don’t smoke, chew or slurp – those sounds travel
If you stand up your voice sounds stronger and more authoritative
Pace the call, don’t rush and let the other person speak
Avoid ‘er’, ‘um’, ‘huh’, and the rest they’ll make you sound dumb