10 Tips To Crush A First Interview
Just imagine – you have been applying to companies, sending out your CV for the past couple of weeks, and you finally got an interview with a top company.
You figure you know your stuff, and they said it was just going to be a casual first touch meeting, so you check out their website quickly while riding the train over.
Everyone is friendly, you felt like you had good rapport, you’re confident that you passed and have the job in the bag… Only to get an email the next week that you failed.
Guess what, now you have to start all over again from scratch.
So instead of wasting your time, study up on these big 10 tips to make sure you get the most out of each opportunity.
Do your research
You might be able to do the job, but do you know the company’s main products, what is their mission statement? Core values? Have you looked over their About Us page and Corporate History Page? Companies, just like people, want to feel special and understood. When you don’t do your research you are essentially saying “Hey I’m just not that into you”.
Being 3-5 minutes early is on time
This should be a no brainer, and yet every year a few people do this. You should always plan for 15 minutes of delay. If you arrive early, wait outside or in a nearby cafe. Of course, sometimes things happen outside our control, in which case ALWAYS contact your recruiter or the company to let them know as soon as possible.
Answer clearly & to the point
Take a moment before answering a question to organize your thoughts and answer. Then speak clearly and confidently. When you aren’t clear on what the interviewer is looking for it is always a good idea to clarify their question or confirm if what you’re explaining is what they were looking for. The worst thing you can do is go on for 5 minutes about something completely different then what they were asking about!
I know most of you will laugh at this and think it is common sense, but inevitably every year, we see 1 or 2 people show up to an interview in flip flops or a t-shirt. So let us clarify for you here. It doesn’t matter whether you are an Engineer who will never see a customer or a Sales Manager. You should always dress to impress unless you have been specifically told to do otherwise. First impressions are easy to make and hard to change – make sure your appearance is helping you!
This is a big one that catches a lot of people. You go into the first interview, have had a good chat, and they ask you if you have any questions. Your thinking, well at THIS POINT IN TIME, no. You may still be deciding if you are even interested in the company or not. Unfortunately, by not asking any pertinent questions, that is exactly what you are telling the interviewer – “I am not that interested” which will result in you not getting the chance to find out if you would have been. We recommend preparing 3-5 questions about the business or role you can ask about.
Don’t speak negatively about your current / previous companies
At the risk of sounding a bit extreme… Nobody wants a team member who is in perpetual cloud of negativity.
Have a clear motivation for applying to the role & company
I see a lot of candidates get tripped up by this, time and time again. When talking about your motivation you need to connect it to what the company you are applying for does and stands for. Just “using your skills and experience” is not good enough. Why? Because you can do that at ANY relative company. Our clients come to us to find them professionals whose passion and drive is in alignment with their company’s goal. Even if you aren’t sure yet, if you don’t show that in the first interview, you will likely not receive the chance to find out later on.
Be a good balance between Professional and Friendly
This one can be a bit tricky as it requires you to read the interviewer and feel it out on a case by case basis. If you are too cold or standoffish you will come off as uninterested or a bad communicator. Get too personal or too casual and you don’t know how to conduct yourself professionally. There is no one answer here, just be aware of how you are talking and acting. Make sure you are being friendly, but professional.
Have good body language / posture
Common understanding is that we make our first impressions within 30 seconds of meeting someone, and almost entirely from non-verbal signals. Make sure you are standing up straight and projecting confidence. Look the person in the eyes & watch your tonality and speed when talking. Be calm but passionate. If this is hard for you, practice in the mirror or even ask your recruiter to practice with you.
Express your appreciate & interest at the end
You may be very interested in the role and company, but that doesn’t mean that the interviewer knows that. Make sure you let them know at the end of the interview or risk them thinking you are not keen on moving forward. A great way to finish off a good interview is at the end say “Thank you for your time, I am very interested in your company and this role, and I look forward to hearing back from you.”
If you are struggling on finding your next career step or getting through interview stages, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We can help with introducing exciting companies and roles, how to best prepare your CV, and support you through the hiring process and salary negotiation, all the way to how to talk to your current employer for resignation.