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Top Interview Tips
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21 Apr 2017

Part Two – The Big Day 

An interview is more process than single event, and can be broken down into three phases:

In this blog, we’ll focus on The Big Day – a face-to-face meeting with a target company and your time to shine. 

If you’ve followed the suggestions in Part One of our Top Tips Trilogy, then you’ll be prepped and ready to go:

  • Travel plans and tickets
  • Appropriate clothing    
  • Research & questions   

For your own benefit, arrive fifteen to twenty minutes early.  Disengage from your phone so you can engage with what you’re about to do. Taking or making calls, checking emails and social media serve as a distraction at a time when you need to focus. 

When offered something to drink, opt for water or decaf tea or coffee.  Caffeinated drinks provide a temporary boost, often followed by a crash, something you don’t need thirty minutes into an interview.

If shown to an empty room, stand up when the interviewer/s arrive, shake hands, smile and introduce yourself.  Limp handshakes convey ‘wimp’ whilst bruised knuckles scream ‘bully’ so aim for something in between.  If you’re a Free Mason, we’ll leave you to your own devices.  Good eye contact is a must at this point and throughout the interview. 

Niceties over, the interview proper can get underway.  You might be asked some predictable questions, to which you’ll have pre-planned answers but otherwise, there’s no way of knowing what direction the interview will take.  This is where the hours of research you did in the ‘Countdown’ phase will prove their worth. 

Now for a few golden rules: 

Never criticise or refer disrespectfully to a past or present employer.  Restrict yourself to positive or neutral remarks.  There are NO exceptions to this rule.  All employers, past, present and future will appreciate your professionalism.   Don’t reveal anything to a potential new employer, about your present employer, that isn’t already in the public domain. 

The interview team will each have a copy of your CV.  If it’s been written by a professional CV writing company  then the content will be strong arouse high levels of interest.  Be prepared for questions on any aspect of what it says about you. 

Assume positive body language throughout the interview.  Talking with our hands to illustrate a point is known to improve verbal delivery, particularly when we keep them at waist height.  Remember to smile – research has shown that we like and remember those who smile at us.  It’s also a great icebreaker.  Avoid negative body language such as crossed arms.  If you’re giving a presentation, stand up straight, fill the space, keep your head up and widen your stance.  All serve as visual cues to your audience that you are a confident, empowered individual.

Be as polite to the person who brings you a drink, as you are to the most senior person in the room.  A smile and eye contact should accompany every ‘thank you.’ Organisations benefit when employees treat each other with respect and will reject candidates whose behaviour suggests they don’t play nicely with others. 

When it’s time to leave, wait for at least one member of the interview team to get to their feet before you do.  Offer your hand to everyone in the room, remember to smile and thank them for their time.  If you’re interested in taking things further then don’t be shy about saying so.  Not everyone is great at reading signals – verbal or otherwise – so don’t assume they know that you still want the job! 

Now check out Part Three of our Top Tips Trilogy for Interview Success  to see what you what you can do next to cement your place as the candidate of choice.