Now that you have sent your resume and cover letter out and that you have been receiving requests for interviews, it is time to up your game and think about the next step, the ever important face-to-face meeting. Research says that recruiters make their mind during the very first 20 minutes of your job interview and even that the first 90 seconds are crucial, so there is little time to make the strongest (and best) impression! In order to get you started and help you on the way to success, we share with you 5 essential tips that should make you feel more at ease with the challenge ahead – while putting you in the position of a winner!
TIP #1: Nail that first impression
The first impression is a visual one, as simple as that, with 65% of hiring professional considering that clothing can be a decisive factor between two candidates. The recruiter is going to see you and what he/she is going to see needs to be positive. Taste is a very personal matter, but when applying for a job, it might be advisable to steer clear of excessive clothing, make-up and attitude in general. We would suggest you dressed as a professional: simply and efficiently, with no frills susceptible of distracting your contact. Show that you know what matters and you like going to the point. This does not mean that you should avoid putting your personality out there: you may express it via a touch of color, or a subtle pattern, for example. Who would have thought fashion to rank so high in the list?
TIP #2: Body Language is the Key
There’s the outside look and…your body language. While it may not be the most important aspect of your interview, it is one that draws attention from the beginning of your interview. Do show a steady gaze, make eye contact, shake hands firmly (without overdoing it) and avoid being fidgety (leave your hair and face alone). This will ensure that your contact stays focused and – you too.
TIP #3: Prepare, prepare, prepare
Show your recruiter that you are genuinely interested in him/her, the company and its activity sector. Do use LinkedIn to get to know their environment and research the company on the Internet and read as much as possible about it. You may also join related groups on LinkedIn and Facebook and a bit of benchmarking to try and understand who the competitors are and where the differences lie may be a good idea. A good level of preparation and understanding will help you move to asking the right questions – which is probably even more important than providing good answers. You will be able to show your critical thinking skills and fluid intelligence.
On a more practical note, do remember to pack more than one pen, a notebook, several copies of your resume and any additional document that will support your achievements and profile.
TIP #4: Open Attitude
Take advantage of your interview to show that you have an open attitude: listen carefully, react accordingly and show that you are interested and adaptable, willing to learn and share. Your recruiter needs to understand that you are someone his/her team will enjoy working with.
TIP #5: Take Responsibility
Instead of listing your strong points, weaknesses and tasks as if they were a mere checklist (although we do love a good old checklist at Horizons University), take some distance and include your tasks and achievements in a more holistic and analytical presentation. For example, one of your weak points may be just the perfect opportunity to improve: how? What are you doing to grow? What project have you taken on? Your tasks and studies may also be presented in a dynamic, development oriented way instead of being a mere bullet pointed list: in what way the choice of you studies/the tasks you have performed at work as an employee or an intern in the past show that you know how to take responsibility and grow?
The tips above are meant as the starting point of your brainstorming and preparation and we do hope you will find them helpful and efficient. The interview, regardless of the job you are applying for, is a great opportunity to show a complete picture of who you were, are and will be: potential is your ally!
Are there any other tips you would like to share with us? What would would be your piece of advice to candidates?
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