Creating a First Impression- The Job Interview

In an interview, your need to convince the interviewer that you are the right man for the job. A professional, humble confidence can leave a good lasting first impression on the recruiter and may be the extra push you need to bump you up the shortlist to getting the job. Here are a few key steps to take, to make sure you nail this interview!

7-Step Interview Prep Plan

  1. Research the company.

This will help you answer questions- and stand out from less-prepared candidates. It can also help avoid embarrassment in the interview…imagine you are asked a few questions about the company itself, and you are unable to answer simply because you haven’t taken an interest in the job? An employer will seek to employ someone that has a passion for the company. How can you have a passion for the company if you don’t know what it is about? Therefore, the first and most important step is to research the company and understand what the position you are applying for does to help achieve the company’s goals!

  • Seek background information.
    • Visit the organization’s website to ensure that you understand the breadth of what they do.
    • Review the organization’s background and mission statement.
    • Assess their products, services and client-base.
    • Read recent press releases for insight on projected growth and stability.
  • Get perspective. Review trade or business publications. Seek perspective and a glimpse into their industry standing.
  • Develop a question list. Prepare to ask about the organization or position based on your research.
  1. Compare your skills and qualifications to the job requirements.
  • Analyze the job description. Outline the knowledge, skills and abilities required. How do you fit the criteria? The interviewer is going to ask the dreaded question,” Why do you feel you are the right person for the job?”. Well? Prepare to say that you indeed are the right person for the job! Prepare to say why you are the right person for the job. However, if you are a person that takes an interest in, say, the arts, but are applying for a job in finance and take no interest in the job whatsoever, perhaps you need to reassess whether you should be applying at all.
  • Examine the hierarchy. Determine where the position fits within the organization.
  • Look side-by-side. Compare what the employer is seeking to your qualifications.
  1. Prepare responses.

The worst thing you could do in an interview, is decide to wing it! This leaves you susceptible to stage fright should the recruiter ask you a question you haven’t yet thought of. Mull over in your head the possible questions that may be asked and prepare professional and positive responses to them. This will eliminate the possible “um…” and “uh…” that coincides with nerves and unsureness and will establish you as a calm and confident persona.

  1. Plan what to wear.

Swinging open those cupboard doors on the day of the interview could be fatal! I know that when I feel a bit jittery, I’m useless when it comes to choosing an outfit. I rip my cupboard apart leaving heaps of clothes around in my room, and often end up trying on each outfit two or three times before I settle on one, and then I overdo the perfume simply because I feel overwhelmed. Avoid this unnecessary stress and plan your outfit ahead of time. Keep your outfit simple and professional. Shorts/jeans and sandals will not do! Outrageous high heels and a sparkly dress wont either. A plain pantsuit with a button up shirt/blouse is perfect!

  1. Plan what to bring.
  • Extra copies of your resume on quality paper
  • A notepad or professional binder and pen
  • A list of references
  • Information you might need to complete an application
  • A portfolio with samples of your work, if relevant
  1. Pay attention to non-verbal communication.
  • Be mindful. Nonverbal communication speaks volumes.
  • Start ahead. Remember that waiting room behaviours may be reported.
  • Project confidence. Establish eye contact and use a firm handshake.
  • Posture counts.Sit up straight yet comfortably. Be aware of nervous gestures such as foot-tapping.
  • Be attentive. Don’t stare, but maintain good eye contact, while addressing all aspects of an interviewer’s questions.
  • Respect their space. Do not place anything on their desk.
  • Manage reactions. Facial expressions provide clues to your feelings. Manage how you react, and project a positive image.
  1. Follow up.

Many interviews end with “Do you have any questions?”

  • Bring a list.
    You may say, “In preparing for today’s meeting, I took some time to jot down a few questions. Please allow me to review my notes.”
  • Be strategic.
    Cover information not discussed or clarify a previous topic — do not ask for information that can be found on the organization’s website.

    • In your opinion, what makes this organization a great place to work?
    • What do you consider the most important criteria for success in this job?
    • Tell me about the organization’s culture.
    • How will my performance be evaluated?
    • What are the opportunities for advancement?
    • What are the next steps in the hiring process?


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