Well done for making it to the face to face interview stage. This means that the organisation you applied for a role with believes that you have the skills, experience and personality that they’re looking for. If you’re only still researching and have not yet been invited to an interview why not consider improving your chances by studying one of our distance learning courses?
Face to face interviews are more difficult than telephone or video interviews but also give you the chance to impress interviewers with your presentation, body language and knowledge of the company and job at hand. In order to do just that you must first be well prepared.
This is perhaps the most important stage of the interview process. If you don’t build up your knowledge of the company and the available role whilst also analysing and reviewing your own experience prior to the interview you might be caught off guard and leave a negative impressions. So what must you do to be ready and feel confident before you walk into what might be your future workplace?
Research the company and learn all you can about it, the industry it operates in and its main competitors. Then look into the role that is being offered. Start with reading the job description if one is available, if not find adverts for similar jobs online and glean as much insight from them as you can. Prepare a few questions based on your research and what you would like to know more about.
Next, think about your experience and how it is relevant for the role that you are applying for. Write down your main accomplishments and skills and memorise them. These can be academic or extracurricular as well as professional as long as they are relevant to the position you are interested in.
Lastly, try to foresee the questions that you might be asked and prepare for them.
Making a positive first impression
Dress well and make sure to look your best. If the company dress code is not clear remember that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed.
Get there on time. You only get one chance at making a great first impression and arriving late will mean you start off on the wrong foot.
Greet the interviewer with a smile and a firm handshake while making sure not to avoid eye contact.
Be confident but not arrogant. You’re there because you have been chosen out of a number of applicants; now you just need to reassure the interviewer and demonstrate that you have the right skills, experience and demeanour.
When sitting down don’t spread your arms and legs too wide but don’t close in on yourself either. Relax, stand up straight and smile. This will give out the right signals and show that you’re happy to be there and to engage with the interviewer.
Preparing yourself thoroughly means that, hopefully, you won’t be caught off guard by any questions. Even if you are asked a question that you were not expecting, taking your time to understand what has been asked and to prepare an answer. Answer any and all questions in detail but to the point. In other words, focus on the matter at hand and try not to go off on a tangent.
Once the interviewer has finished asking their questions they will usually allow a few minutes in which to answer any questions that you might have. Make the most of this and ask questions which show your knowledge of the company, its industry and competitors but help clarify certain aspects of the job for you as well.
This is a good time to ask about the next steps following the interview. Doing so shows that you are still interested about the job and that you are looking forward to what comes next.