Finding a job is perhaps harder than it has ever been before. There are certainly jobs available, but many advertised positions get hundreds, if not thousands of applicants. Even people with years of relevant experience are finding that they need to look in other fields or take a step down the career ladder and it can seem almost impossible for a new graduate or someone that has taken a career break to even get a foot in the door.
With so many people to interview, employers and interviewers can often find it difficult to judge candidates. Many companies now hold phone interviews and group sessions to help them slim the field. But even then, when there are several good candidates, it’s often not their experience or qualifications that get them a job. It’s not even their detailed answers to questions; it can be the more basic elements that make the difference. If you have an interview coming up, or you’ve had a few rejections and you are wondering how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd, it might be worth getting back to basics.
Read the Job Description
Reading the description of the job that you are applying for might seem obvious, but so many people barely glance at it, and few take in the details or do any more research. Make sure you know what job you are applying for, and what the interviewer is looking for. Practice answering the question “why are you right for this role?”.
Dressing for success is extremely important. You should be dressed in business professional attire, making sure your clothes are clean, well pressed, and in good condition, and taking the time to make sure your hair is neat, your nails are clean, and you look respectable. If you aren’t sure what business professional attire is, get some advice from Placement. Placement can offer a range of guides and 1:1 career coaching sessions to help you succeed in the job market.
Make Sure You Smell Nice
Smelling nice is a great way to make a good impression. But don’t get carried away. Make sure you are clean, your clothes are fresh, and if you decide to wear perfume or aftershave, stick to a natural scent and only apply a small amount.
Take Your Resume
You have probably already submitted your resume, but that doesn’t mean that the person interviewing you will have a copy. Print one out and keep it in a neat folder.
The worst impression you could make is being late for your interview. Try to arrive at least 10 minutes early, practicing your journey beforehand if it’s in an area you aren’t familiar with.
Offer a Firm Handshake
Your handshake is probably more important than you think it is. Your hands should be clean and dry, and you should shake firmly and confidently, without trying too hard. Practice with a friend before your interview.
Make Eye Contact
It can be hard to make eye contact when you are nervous, but it’s a great way to make a good impression, show that you are approachable and friendly, and it can even be what gets you remembered after the interview.
When we smile people are more likely to trust us or to consider us trustworthy and approachable. Smiling shows an interviewer that you are happy to be there, will fit into a team, and that you aren’t overwhelmed by the situation.
Perfect Your Posture
Good posture makes you look more confident and professional, and sitting or standing tall could even ease your nerves and help you to control your breathing. Pull your shoulders back and down, avoid looking at the floor, and try to create a straight line from your bottom to the top of your head.
Making notes is a great way to remember everything you’ve learned. It can also trigger your memory of things that you want to ask. It also shows that you are taking the interview seriously and that you want to go further. Make notes in a small notepad, not your phone, and only jot down important points, making sure you give your attention to your interviewer, and never spend more than a few seconds looking down at your pad.
Keep Answers Short
It can be tempting to try and get as much information as possible into your answers, but this can lead to a lot of waffle. You may bore the interviewer or come across as someone who wastes time and can’t get to the point. Keep answers short and concise, and only say what you need to.
Don’t Speak Negatively About Past Employers or Colleagues
Speaking ill of past employers or colleagues won’t endear you to your interviewer. It will be a red flag that you are a gossip, that you are unprofessional, and that you can’t be trusted with important information or relationships. Try to be positive or say as little as possible if you have nothing nice to say.
Interviews are daunting, but you shouldn’t overthink things. Get the basics right, and you are sure to be successful soon.