What are the key things to do to make your face-to-face interview successful?
- Do your research: Before you walk in the door you should know as much about the company as possible. That means going to their website and looking at their About Us section, as well as their recent press releases, and products or services.
- Review your application documents: You should know all of your application documents inside-out so that you can answer any questions relating to them.
- Create some narratives: You should create some narrative or as I like to call them stories (honest ones), about your prior experience and skills. You won’t use all of these, but they will definitely be helpful during the questions stage. Prepare your strength and weakness questions in the same way.
- Prepare questions of your own: These will probably come to you when you do your research into the company. Make sure you have at least six, as some will be answered in the interview.
- Prepare a file for the interview: In this file should be any documentation that the company has sent you, your CV, and any other application documents and a notebook for you to write in.
- Dress smartly: This is an obvious one, but remember that it is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Being overdressed may be a little uncomfortable, but the company will appreciate that you have made an effort to impress them.
- Recognise what the interviewer is asking: Sometimes, interviewers can be a little coy in how they phrase their question. For example, it would be rare for them to come straight out and ask what your strengths are, but they will have a different way of asking this which you’ll need to recognise. For example, they may ask you to tell them about a piece of work you are proud of. That’s your cue to highlight strengths. Listen to what they are saying, to understand what they are asking.
- Be yourself: This means that you should play to your strengths and always answer questions in a way that feels natural to you.
- End with clarification: To end the interview, always ask if the interviewer would like you to clarify any of your answers. It can really turn things around for you if you’ve made any negative impressions with your answers. Also ask what the next steps are and the timeline.
- Post-interview work: After your interview, jot down what went well and what didn’t work, as well as what you’re thinking about the potential job. After a few hours, send your interviewer an email to thank them and confirm that you are still interested in the position, with a point or two on why you are still interested and qualified. This only applies if you are interested, of course. If you are not interested, please send a courtesy email telling them that and why. It keeps the door open for future talks and you never know when you might appreciate that.
- Always follow up: If you haven’t heard back from them within the discussed timeframe.
Hopefully, these points will help you in your face-to-face interviews. And, as always, good luck!