My top tips to a great first interview

28th February 2018

When you have successfully mastered the dual arts of how to make that perfect resume and cover letter, it’s now time to prepare for your job interview to get you closer to receiving a job offer.

Here are some of my top interview tips:

1. Research the industry and company.

This seems the most basic and obvious preparation work to be done before an interview but something I believe is over looked. Make sure to research the company in depth and tell the interviewer what you know, impress them!

Some action points; understand who the firm’s competitors are, what are their competitive advantages, how they fit in the industry, research the interviewer and enter the companies name into Google News and see what comes up.

2. Sell yourself

People can actually find this surprisingly hard and lose confidence on what should be the easiest thing, telling someone your key strengths. You must prepare to go into every interview with at least 5 key selling points and have examples for each selling point.

3. Prepare questions for the interviewer

This is an extremely important part of the interview; when the interviewer asks, “do you have any questions for me?”. You must always say yes; you should prepare at least three questions to ask the interviewer, my favorites are:

  • How would you measure someone’s success in the first 3-6 months of being in this role?
  • How would you describe the company’s values?
  • What is the best part of working for this company?
  • What are the company’s plans for growth and development?

4. The first five minutes

From speaking to all my clients; it is clear that they tend to make their mind up on the candidate in the first five minutes of the meeting. So, make sure you score some wins in that time; come in with energy, enthusiasm and passion plus thank the interviewer for their time.

Remember, there is a good chance that the interviewer has met three or four people that day; so be sure to stand out from the rest.

5. Be positive

No one likes a complainer! So, keep the interview as positive as possible. The chances are the interviewer will ask you “what did you least like about your role and why are you looking to leave from your current role”

This is not the time for you to tell the interviewer everything you hated about your previous/ current role whether that be your boss, team or culture. Give professional reasons why you want to move to a new company such as: more growth, added responsibility etc

6. Do the simple things right.

No one will know every question the interviewer will ask you but don’t let yourself down on the things you can control. Dress appropriately, make eye contact, give a firm handshake, speak clearly and whatever you do, do not be late!

Get a good night sleep, know exactly the location of the interview and make sure not to have a cigarette before you go into an interview (you want to be smelling fresh).

7. Concerns and Reservations

There will always be a number of candidates going for one job, so the interviewer will look for ways to screen people out. When you are understanding the company and the job description, think to yourself why might they not hire me?

Make sure you come prepared with your defense clearly stating that I understand you might have a concern and give a reason why they shouldn’t be.

8. Practice makes perfect

This is something you can control, so no excuses. Grab a friend or your recruitment consultant and start doing role plays. Nothing worse than stumbling on questions when you the interview finally comes.

Make sure your practice consists of speaking aloud, rehearsing your answer in your mind won’t cut it!

9. Social Media

Yes, for us millennials social media is a massive part of our lives. You might look amazing in that selfie you took last night but to be clear your future employer will look you up online. Make sure you clean up your social media and give them no excuses to not offer you the job.

10. Closing the interview

At the end of the interview make sure to shake the interviewers hand and say thank you. Moreover, if you feel you have had a positive meeting do not be afraid to ask what the next steps will be.

There you have it, my 10 top tips of how to have a great first interview. What I have told you are not things you haven’t heard before but they are some good pointers on how to have a strong first interview.

Leaving you with my final bit of advice; the individual who has shown the most research and understanding about the role, company and industry throughout the interview process tend to get the job from my experience.

Whatever happens, don’t give up! Not every interview will necessarily go the way you want but do everything you can to control your elements and your dream job is just around the corner.