When you make the decision to change careers, you start the process of marketing yourself and your skills to suitable employers. You make sure your CV reflects your abilities, skills and expertise. You send your CV to a few select companies and eagerly await their feedback. When the call comes you are thrilled and accept a meeting time for an interview. This is when you need to start thinking about the first impressions you are going to make!
This is when the preparation should begin! Sadly many people lose out on amazing opportunities due to a few mistakes that are made leading up to and during the interview. Being in the recruitment industry, I always try to assist candidates in preparing for their interview – these are some of the things I discuss with them:
Research, Research, Research
I cannot stress this point enough! So many interviewees go into an interview and get asked what they know about the company that they would potentially be joining. It portrays you in an extremely negative light if you are not able to give your understanding of the company and their services or products. Most clients will not overlook this and will pass on your application. If you are interested in joining an organisation you should understand what it is that they do.
The rule of thumb is to always dress professionally when attending an interview, occasionally this will vary however your recruitment consultant will be able to assist you with this and advise you accordingly. Make sure you are well groomed and smelling fresh, I know this sounds odd but strange smells in an interview room can be exceptionally distracting and carries negative connotations. Leave the gum in the car – if you want to freshen your breath chew a mint before the interview, chewing in an interview is distracting and many people find it highly annoying.
Be on time, we know that certain situations do happen in life that can sometimes prevent this from happening, but where possible leave allowances for these eventualities. Rather leave early and go and have a cup of coffee at a nearby coffee shop. Not only will you be on time, but you will be cool, calm and collected for your interview. If you are however, stuck in traffic or going to be late, call your recruiter or interviewer before the interview time to inform them of the situation, this gives them the opportunity to plan for your delay.
On the flip side of the coin, being too early is also not a good thing. Arriving far too early puts your interviewer under pressure and it reflects poorly on you. My golden rule is to arrive 10 minutes before your interview.
A successful interview is based on two-way communication, be engaged, speak clearly, sit up straight, make eye contact, ask questions when prompted and most of all enjoy your discussion. Good luck and happy interviewing!