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Tips for making a great impression
The interview is your opportunity to convince a potential employer that you are the strongest candidate amongst tough competition. No matter how compelling you appear on paper, it’s the impression you make in person that is the deciding factor. Give yourself the best chance to make a great impression with these tips:
Plan your arrival
Punctuality is a strong indicator of your professionalism and enthusiasm for the role. Confirm the time and address of the interview, research directions and parking, and aim to arrive 10 minutes early. Bring any required documentation and the phone number of the person you will be meeting with in case of an emergency.
Dress the part
Your appearance conveys how serious you are about the role, and how you would represent the company in the future. Be sure to dress appropriately; neat, professional and relatively conservative. Pay attention to details such as clean shoes and limit the amount of jewellery you wear.
Keep your composure
It’s important to remain as relaxed as possible. Even the most seasoned professional can get interview nerves. Preparing thoroughly will help you to maintain your composure. Remember that both you and the interviewer want a successful outcome from the interview.
One strategy for success in behavioural interview questions is to use the STAR interviewing response techniques.
Situation or Task
Describe the situation or the task that you need to accomplish. You must describe a specific event or situation, not a generalised description of what you have done in the past. Be sure to give enough detail for the interviewer to understand. The situation can be from a previous job, from a volunteer experience or any relevant event.
Describe the action you took and be sure to keep the focus on you. Even if you are discussing a group project or effort, describe what you did, not the efforts of the team. Don’t talk about what you might do, talk about what you did.
What happened? How did the event end? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?
Greet with confidence
First impressions count. Greet your interviewer standing, with a firm handshake, good eye contact and a smile. Try to find out the name of the interviewer or the interview panel in advance. This will help you to address them correctly and make a positive impression.
Watch your delivery
Positive body language is vital. Be aware of your tone, eye contact and how you are positioned in the chair. Try to convey genuine enthusiasm, warmth and professionalism. Speak with clarity and confidence. Remember that your motivation and attitude are often as critical as your skills and experience.
Positive last impression
Close the interview with a handshake, a smile and a genuine thank you. A brief, friendly email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration is often viewed positively. Restating your enthusiasm for the role could be a deciding factor as to whether you are offered the job.