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Tips for Interview success

Updated on December 19, 2011

Body language and appearance

‘You only get one chance to make a first impression’ which is very true in many situations, particularly if you are about to enter an interview for your dream job.

If you are called to interview, the potential employer has been sufficiently impressed with your CV, so much so that they think you might be the right person for them. It is really important that when you meet them in person, this impression is confirmed and developed further. That way, you are more likely to get your dream job.

So, how do you do that? Here are 4 top tips from HR professionals.

1. Make and effort with your appearance. Dressing to impress shows you are keen enough about the job. Dressing to impress means presenting yourself smartly and appropriately.

How to dress to impress? Even if the work environment is casual, for example, in an advertising agency, it is still very important that you dress professionally for your interview; first impressions matter. A suit is normal practice for an interview for both men and women. Many people still take the view that if you have well polished shoes it is a sign that youu pay attention to detail. Poorly polished shoes send out the message that you are a bit lazy. Also, take some time over your grooming, not scrubbing the soild from under your nails after the weekend's gardening will be noticed and contribute to the overall impression.

Don’t overdo the make-up or perfume/aftershave; being in a room with someone who smells strongl, either in a nice way or otherwise, can be a bit overpowering!

Chewing gum in the interview is a big no no! It shows a very casual attitude, and not the type of impression you want to give at an interview. Moreover, watching someone's mouth moving can be very off-putting for the interviewer. Just think about how horrible it is watching someone like the bloke who is the Manchester United manager on the rare occasions that he talks to the press. He chews gum during the interview. Urgh!

2. Come into the interview room with confidence, with your shoulders back and your head up, a big smile and a firm handshake upon introduction (limp handshakes will put people off immediately but for goodness sake, please don't crush the hand of the interviewer! Speak clearly and confidently, even if you are feeling nervous, good body language will easily hide your nerves.

3. Sit up straight but be relaxed. Do not cross your arms or demonstrate any other signs of closed body language, such as covering your mouth with your hand as you talk or turning your body away from the interviewer. Talking across your interview or interupting them when they are talking shows a lack of respect and is something else that you should never do.

4. This next tip for interview success may sound obvious but so many people fail on it - answer the question. Don't answer a question that you think has been asked - answer the actual question. Avoid waffling or lying, it is easy for an experienced interviewer to see through.

As your interview progresses, you will probably begin to relax, but always try to maintain the confident, open demeanour with which you started.

After the interview, it is a nice touch to write a follow up thankyou letter, unless of course the job decision is to be made on the spot, in which case it is pointless.

Increasingly, you may engounter a group interview.

The way to cope with any interview is to be prepared, and group interviews are no exception, in fact being more prepared will certainly be to your advantage.

So why do companies choose this method of interview? When companies wish to present themselves to potential employees they provide a presentation. Providing a separate presentation for each candidate would in effect be wasting valuable time and money. But don't be fooled, this is not just an opportunity for you to learn about the company, the company will be learning about you! They will be looking at how you interact with the others and how you potentially could fit in their organisation. In other words, it's a quicker way of sorting the wheat from the chaff!

Making the best of the situation

Don't just turn up expecting to get all you need to know from the company's presentation! Find out as much as you can about their plans for development, their ethos and growth.

Use what you now know to formulate a list of questions that can be posed either at the end of the presentation or at the end of the interview itself. Making a list rather than one or two questions ensures that if your question is answered by the presentation or asked by another candidate, you have back-up! If in discussion someone uses a point you wished to make think of something you can 'add' to it, showing off that you are actively listening and can think quickly.

You are being watched! Be body language aware! Right from the word 'go' you are being observed, so when you approach the other candidates introduce yourself in a polite and friendly manner. Throughout the interview you are being examined, interviewers wish you
to be confident, yet not arrogant and stay calm. Avoid monopolising conversation otherwise you will be seen as being overpowering or worse, selfish.

SO there you go, a good range of tips we hope that could help you to get the position you really want.

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