10 Golden Rules for a Job Interview
As we have read in our previous article, Top 20 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers, there are no real rules that can guarantee you a job after an interview. However, if you can ask recruitment specialists who have interviewed and placed thousands of candidates, they will tell you there are a couple of rules that if broken, will almost always move you to the bottom of the interviewer’s list of candidates. This list illustrates just a couple of them and remember as with most rules, use your own common sense and always be honest when answering questions. Follow these few rules and you’ll have a great impression at your next job interview.
Rule number 1: Be well prepared for the interview
Without preparation, you’ll be nervous which can distract you from answering with confidence even the basics questions that you know. I remember those days when I used to email a dozen of CVs to prospective employers every day. After a couple of weeks and sometimes months, then you receive a call to come for an interview and you can’t even remember when you applied for that position, worse you can’t even remember the details of that job offer. Now you start to panic as you can’t miss this opportunity even if you don’t even know what the job is all about because maybe you have been unemployed for quite some time now.
- Always make some notes when you apply for a job position. Write down the name of the company, and the job specification. It will come handy one day.
- If you can’t remember or you don’t have the job specification, feel free to request them and also find out who will interview you.
- Do a background research of the company, find out who they are and what they do. Found out if they are a global company, whether they have been in news recently, all these can help you show them why you are interested to work for them.
Rule number 2: Rehearse for the interview
- Rehearsal can build your confidence. Ask a friend to assist you and play the role of the interviewer.
- Ask your friend to ask you questions related to the job specification, use this article: Top 20 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers to get a comprehensive questionnaire.
Rule number 3: Dress Appropriately
Visual first impression is very important especially during an interview. Your own personal taste in clothes may not always be appropriate for the job. It always safer if you are not sure to wear a formal attire.
- You have no choice here, your clothes have to be clean and pressed. If you never iron your clothes, iron just this once for your interview.
- One important and often overlooked aspect, is the the colour of your clothes, unless you are applying for an artistic job, pay attention to not only what you are wearing but also to colours. The colour of your clothing sends a subconscious message to the interviewer about your personality. The right colours can help convey your confidence, professionalism and your ability to fit into an organization’s environment. Try to choose Solids Over Patterns. Solid colours ensure that your clothes will not distract interviewer, he/she will focus on your skills and qualifications rather than your wacky style. Solid navy, dark gray, and black suits and dresses in particular look professional without being distracting.
- Ladies, this is not a place to look like a fashion model, wear a smart blouse and skirt or pants.
- Gentlemen, wear a good suit, a plain shirt and tie. If you have forgotten your high school skills of tying a tie, Check out this article to refresh your mind: Learn how to tie a tie.
- Pay attention to your hair styles as well, try to be simple, clean and neat. If you are a man, try to be shaved.
- If you don’t have all these items for some reasons, this is the moment to swallow your pride and approach a friend to lend you some clothes and/or shoes just for this day, and if you are lucky to be called for a second interview, by simply changing the shirt and tie combination you can give the look of a whole new outfit, even if you don’t have another suit.
- Rather than carrying loose papers, bring a folder with a few copies of your CV, a pen, a note book and a printout of the job specification.
Video: Learn how to tie a tie
Rule number 4: Arrive on time
Don’t arrive too early or even a mere 5 minutes late. Be on time at most 10 to 15 minutes early before time. If you don’t know the place of the interview, it wouldn’t hurt to go there a day before just to find out how to get there and how long your transport will take to get you there. It always safe to arrive even 1 hour earlier, keep yourself busy outside around the venue and wait for the time before going through than arriving late. Even if you bring the excuses of traffic jam or anything else, they will hardly believe you as themselves managed to be on time waiting for you. This will create a first bad impression which can cost you the job.
Rule number 5: Be polite everywhere
The receptionist or the security guard is the first person in the company you will probably meet. You will never know if they might ask them their opinions about you. Be patient and professional, don’t lose your temper at the parking lot, who knows what if that person you are confronting outside might be part of your interviewers?
Rule number 6: Give a firm handshake
Believe me or not, your handshake will also be part of your first impression. Do not let it be too strong or too weak. Greet people with confidence. Take your sit and remain calm.
Rule number 7: Express yourself Clearly
Communicate clearly and directly, don’t let your nerves take over from your confidence. You will end up missing some words to say.
- Try to stay away from slang and abbreviations.
- Listen carefully to what the interviewer is asking, and let them finish first before you can start answering.
- Give direct answers to questions, if you don’t know, say so instead of wasting time with irrelevant answers.
- Try to adapt the communication style of the interviewer. If the interviewer asks direct questions or is more professional, try to be likewise as well.
Rule number 8: Make Eye Contact
- Always maintain eye contact with the interviewer, but this does not mean to stare at them. You are permitted to break eye contact every now and then.
- By avoiding eye contact, you will create an impression that you are shy or disinterested
- If it’s a panel interview, make eye contact with the person who asked the question. Don’t limit yourself to the person you think is the decision maker. When you are answering the question though, make eye contact with each of the other panel members to let them know that you are answering not only to the person who asked the question but the answer is directed to all of them.
Rule number 9: Be positive about your past
Always be positive about your past, don’t try to portray negatively your previous employers or colleagues even if you believe they had bad behaviors, this won’t score you any point but will give the impression that you are that type of person who shift the blame. Try to point out something positive that you learned or experienced from your previous jobs instead of focusing on negative. If you had difficulties growing up or at school/university, try not to speak about your personal life here as it’s really irrelevant unless asked and you feel fine to talk about it.
Rule number 10: Ask questions when given the opportunity
At the end of the interview, once the interviewer has finished with his/her questions, he/she will probably ask you whether you have questions. If you did your home work, you could come prepared with a couple of questions that you can ask at the end if they don’t cover them during the interview. Or you could even pick up some questions during the interview. There are also some few general questions that could ask at this time like: “How soon can I start if I were to get the job?” or “How quickly they expect you to become productive?”, all these can help show that you have interest in the job.