An interview should be a pleasure not a chore.
It is a time for you to find out more about the company and the role you are applying for and for the interviewer to find out about you and your suitability both for the company and the role.
You should always be yourself but keep your guard up at all times. Remember that you have control over your mouth and you do not have to say anything you don’t want to, likewise only you can make sure that you do say everything that you want to.
Listen very carefully and keep your answers on track. Do not waffle or meander away from the subject of the question. Try to back up any information with relevant examples. It is not enough to say “I am confident”, you need to illustrate an example that proves you are confident.
The most important thing is to be prepared. Prepare yourself, what you want to say and what you want to ask.
Here are our Top 10 Tips for a winning Interview
1 Fail to prepare and prepare to fail
Don’t just turn up, do your research, look on the web and in store at product, brand and competitors, prepare some questions, write them down in a list and tick them off if they get answered during the course of the interview.
2 Time keeping
If you are too early or late this creates a terrible first impression. This is an important meeting put some effort into it. Ideally arrive 10 minutes early and if you are running late call.
3 Who, what, where, when
Double check the address, time and names. Take them with you on the day as well as a telephone number. Be polite and courteous to the receptionist and anyone else you meet, everyone you meet might be asked for feedback.
4 Brag Pack
Take a copy of your CV and any other information that you want to show the interviewer. Build up a brag pack throughout your career, examples of work, letters of recommendation or thanks, sales figures, actual product, designs or product development or pack shots, anything that highlights your skills. Also always take paper, pen and a calculator, some tissues and a bottle of water.
5 The morning after
Make sure you have a light meal, no highly spiced or garlic laden foods and no alcohol the night before or on the day of the interview and get a good night’s sleep. If you are offered a drink, take water, tea or coffee. Do not accept alcohol or cigarettes as this may give off the wrong impression and might relax you too much.
6 Handbags and Glad rags
Smart business dress does not always mean a suit these days, try to do some research, what is the norm for that company. Prepare your clothes, polish your shoes and be smart but comfortable. Make sure you are spotlessly clean and tidy, especially finger nails and hair. Do not wear too much aftershave, fragrance or overpowering sports rubs. Brush your teeth, wear moderate make up and understated jewellery, nothing that could offend.
Practice your handshake and get it right. A limp handshake appears weak and disinterested, too firm and enthusiastic appears insincere and aggressive. It must be firm and confident, practice to get it right.
8 Eye contact
Be positive and confident throughout the interview, smile and maintain eye contact. In group interviews do not exclude anyone, even if they do not ask any questions, address everyone and make eye contact with everyone.
9 Flattery and Egos
Even if you are unsure about the company and the position appear keen and interested as well as focused about the direction of your career. Match the interviewers style and body language and get them talking about themselves and the business.
An interview is a sales pitch and you are the product don’t forget to sell yourself and close the sale. Don’t leave questions unanswered ask if they have any concerns about your ability to fit in and do the job and cover them again. Round up the interview at the end by saying that you are keen, thank them for their time and clarify what happens next.