In Savoir Flair’s new series, we tap Dubai-based life coach Sophia Fromell of Ithaca Life for her expert tips on those big, hard-to-answer questions about life and career. Here, she shares her advice on how to nail your next job interview.
Do you have a job interview looming? While it’s important to focus your energy on preparing for those tricky questions ahead, you should also be sure to consider a number of other important elements that can make or break the first impression you make. Read on for the ten golden rules of interviewing.
Show Up On Time
There is one well-known rule regarding interviews: “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.” Despite any issues that may arise, ensure that you are on time. If you are unsure about the location, consider making the journey there the day before to guarantee that you know where you are going and how long you need to get there.
When you are invited for a job interview, it is expected of you to know vital information about the company, the industry, and the role you are interviewing for. Always avoid asking your potential employer any questions that you should already know the answers to.
Dress the Part
When you walk into a meeting room, the visual impression you’re making will determine how the interviewer will perceive you – even before you’ve uttered a single word. Avoid dressing down, unless the industry you’re interviewing for requires it. Pay close attention to your clothes and shoes, ensuring that your attire is clean and freshly pressed, and that your shoes are polished.
Know Who You’re Meeting
Be prepared for the person(s) you are meeting. Ensure that you know their names, and how to pronounce them properly. If in doubt, it is always beneficial to clarify with the recruiter or receptionist prior to the meeting. Make yourself aware of their seniority and position, as well as how they link to the role you are interviewing for.
Prepare Your Handshake
It is always advisable to practise your handshake before the interview, and adjust it if need be. When you initially enter the room, introduce yourself while extending your hand, keeping your fingers together with the thumb up and open. Shake firmly, pumping once or twice from the elbow. Avoid offering just your fingertips, and do not attempt the “Terminator” shake – squeezing the fingers of the other person’s hand.
Provide Practical Examples
In virtually every interview, you will be asked to provide practical examples to illustrate how you can tackle challenges and resolve problems. Prepare yourself with at least three practical examples, using the “CAR” approach to illustrate your point:
Case: Allocate five percent of the time to providing the background and building the case.
Action: This should be the main focus of your talk, taking 80 percent of the discussion. You should describe what steps you have taken to resolve a situation or bring a project to completion.
Results: The remaining 15 percent of your discussion should focus on the results you achieved through your actions.
Maintain Eye Contact
Maintaining eye contact is perceived as a sign of sincerity and confidence, as well as helping to build rapport between the interviewer and interviewee. However, avoid extremes – don’t stare at your interviewer as this may make them feel very uncomfortable.
Only Bring the Necessities
Although it might seem obvious, do not enter an interview with any unnecessary items: shopping bags, your dry cleaning, a half-finished cup of coffee, or a muffin. Also, refrain from chewing gum and sucking on candy.
Mind Your Body Language
In a job interview, always pay attention to how you come across as you want to make sure that your non-verbal communication supports the spoken message. Try to move with confidence and sit in an upright position, holding your head high. Avoid lounging back on your seat as you will come across as too casual.
When the interviewer invites you to ask questions, ensure you are prepared to do so. This is your time to shine by showing that you can think outside the box. Refrain from asking overused questions such as, “What is a day in this role like?” Instead, ask questions that demonstrate that you have an understanding of the organization, as well as the industry you’re interviewing for. For example: “How do you feel the recent developments in _______ will impact the way the organization conducts business?”