Whether you’re speaking with internal HR roles or external recruiters, interviewers have one intention of a first interview: to decide whether or not to invest more time in a candidate. Below we outline how you can make a strong first impression in order to advance to the next stage of the hiring process.
A checklist to help you prepare for your interview:
- Ask yourself self-assessment questions related to the position. Consider how the interview may try to test your:
- Oral communication skills
- Organization and planning
- Problem solving capabilities
- Leadership inclinations
- Tolerance of ambiguity
- Research the company you’re interviewing for.
- Familiarize yourself with their products and services.
- Bring a hard copy of your references and resume.
- Most importantly, arrive on time.
A first impression can have a great impact on your interview. Your punctuality, preparation, and even wardrobe choices can all play a part in your first impression.
Be sure to:
- Wear blue, grey, black, white, or red to your interview: Find out why by learning what the colors you wear say about you in an interview.
- Examine your strengths: Be ready to speak to the things that you can do with considerable success.
- Seek to serve: Show the interviewer how you can be of service to them and their needs by tying your experience back to the role.
- Be uniquely you: Don’t be afraid to show your personality and inherent individuality in order to attract the right job.
- Stay poised and relaxed: Interviews are designed to see how you react under pressure—take a few deep breaths and remember how prepared you are.
- Ask questions: Don’t dominate the conversation, but do ask follow up questions to make the interview feel more like a dialogue.
- Bring up past successes: Prepare to discuss past results to show how you’ll bring value to your next employer.
- Sit up straight, lean slightly forward, and look your interviewer in the eye: Confident body language is incredibly important—keep in mind that your resume has already earned you a spot in the conversation.
Check out our blog post on Creating a Winning Personal Brand, and set yourself apart in your next interview.
Even if you have the perfect background and a spotless resume, a few landmines can quickly derail the process.
Remember not to:
- Dress too casually, or wear brown, orange, yellow, or purple
- Lie about past employment or skills that you do not have
- Slouch, cross your arms, or showcase other behaviours that imply a lack of confidence such as rambling
- Forget to prepare questions in advance
- Pose questions or provide answers in a potentially negative tone. Try the following adjustments to these common interview topics.
- “How much will I get paid?”
- Instead: prompt a professional discussion about projected salary range for the role.
- “I couldn’t stand my last boss”
- Instead: explain that the company’s vision didn’t align with your own—and outline how this company’s vision excites you.
- “What does your company do?”
- Instead: research the organization in advance and prepare probing questions that show your knowledge and gain you a deeper understanding of the role at hand.
- “How can I get your job?”
- Instead: ask about their career progression within the organization, and what they like most about working there.
- “How much will I get paid?”
Check out our blog posts on What Not To Say In An Interview and Interview Pro Tip: Don’t Get Drunk or Swear Like a Sailor for a more in-depth look into interview don’ts.