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12 ways to impress your interviewer

Posted on 26/04/2017 by

Being positive, asking questions, and dressing professionally are just some of the ways you can impress at a job interview.

If you want to ace a job interview, preparation is key. Planning ahead can help you feel calm and confident on the day.

There are several ways you can prepare. We spoke to Cathy and Sarndra, ITC’s employment experts, to find out more.

Here are Cathy and Sarndra’s top 12 tips for impressing your interviewer.

1. Arrive early

Don’t be late! Plan to arrive early. You never know what traffic will be like or if your bus will be delayed, so allow plenty of time to get to your destination. You can always sit in your car or in a nearby cafe if you’re way ahead of schedule.

2. Be ‘ON’ from the moment you walk in the door

Your interview doesn’t start in the interview room – it starts as soon as you walk into the building. Be professional and ready-to-impress when you talk to the receptionist and sit in the waiting room. Sit up straight and go over your notes – don’t slouch or play on your phone.

“You never know who might be watching you,” says Cathy.

“Sometimes they put a fake interviewee into the mix to observe your mannerisms in the waiting room! This is quite common with airlines, so be aware.”

3. Dress to impress

Make sure your outfit is clean, ironed, and professional – from head-to-toe. Is your hair tidy? Are your shoes polished? Ladies, is your makeup well-applied and smudge-free?

If you’re in doubt about how much makeup to wear, be conservative (less is often more). It’s also a good idea to carry an extra pair of stockings in your handbag just in case you get a last-minute ladder.

4. Ask insightful questions

Come up with a list of questions to ask your interviewer. This shows that you’re genuinely interested in the role and you want to learn as much as you can.

Just make sure you do some research before you go. Don’t ask obvious questions like “where is your head office?”. Know the company, their values, and what they do.

5. Prepare relevant examples

Your interviewer will ask you things like, “how do you work in a team?” and “how do you respond to challenges?”

Prepare a few examples about situations you have been in. Draw on past work experience or examples from College. Be honest, don’t make anything up.

6. Have a positive attitude

If you’re a new graduate, attitude is more important than work experience. Your interviewer will know from your CV that you’re a recent graduate, so focus on showcasing your fantastic attitude instead of worrying about your experience (or lack of).

“Show the interviewer how motivated and enthusiastic you are by talking about what excites you about their brand or products,” says Sarndra.

“Tell them what motivates you about the role, and what you look forward to learning as you become a successful member of the team.”

7. Listen to each question carefully

Make sure you understand what the interviewer is asking you. It’s okay to take a short pause as you consider your answer.

If you’re in doubt, ask them to clarify the question so you have a chance to get it right.

8. Practice with family members

Writing notes on paper is very different to speaking out loud. Practice talking about your experience with trusted family members. Get someone to play the role of interviewer and ask you some questions.

This will help you feel more confident on the day.

9. Be your best self

Show the interviewer the best version of yourself. This is your time to shine! If you’re shy or reserved, you may come across as uninterested or unmotivated.

“Be enthusiastic, check your body language, and realise that you’re selling yourself,” says Cathy.

10. Remember: You have more experience than you think

Just because you are a school leaver or a recent graduate doesn’t mean you don’t have any experience. Did you have a part-time job at high school? Have you volunteered at your local church or community organisation? Did you play a team sport?

“Whether you have experience babysitting, lawn mowing, or helping with sports teams, bring this experience to the forefront,” says Sarndra.

“Use these examples to demonstrate positive attributes such as punctuality, great communication or organisational skills, or going the extra mile.”

11. Leave a lasting impression

How you end the interview is just as important as how you start. At the end, thank the interviewer for their time, let them know you look forward to hearing from them, and shake their hand before you leave.

When you get home, send them a quick email thanking them once again and affirm that you would love to work for the company.

12. Smile – it’s your biggest asset!

Last but not least, remember to smile throughout your interview. If you lack confidence, go in with a great smile, good posture, and talk a little bit loudly than you normally would. Keep smiling and don’t be scared to laugh. You can be professional and warm/friendly at the same time.

Also, remember that this may not be the job of your dreams but it’s an important step in your career. Be respectful and grateful – you are privileged to get an interview as a lot of people don’t get one.

Good luck! If you have any questions, make a time to see Sarndra or Cathy or attend one of their regular CV workshops. Ask at reception for more details.

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