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Tips to Impress at a Job Interview with video

Updated on June 28, 2012

Some dos and don'ts

It is very difficult to impress at an interview. After all you only have a short period of time to express all your skills and positive personality traits. You will be also be judged by the clothes you wear, how confident you come across, your hair cut… You must cover all aspects to make that all important first impression. This article will address everything and at the end of it, you shall be in a position to “wow” your interviewer into offering you that job.

First of all you have to accept that the interviewer is not your friend. Whether it is a manager or a human resource employee. They are not there to help you get the job. They have a set series of skills and competencies required for the position and never make the mistake of thinking they will read between the lines. This is entirely up to you.

So you’ve submitted your resume and you have been invited for an interview. This is brilliant news as it means you get to spend face time with the company and really push your self to the front of the queue.

Preparation

There is always a question on the company: "What do you know about the company"? You will be able to find information online or by asking an existing employee. Try to find out something about recent financial performance and/or challenges to the business. If you spoke to an existing employee always refer to him/her by name in the interview. This shows good people skills and initiative. Most people will surf the net for half an hour so there is an opportunity here to differentiate yourself from other candidates. This question exists for the purpose of identifying candidates who don’t prepare.

You probably won’t know the exact questions you will be asked though you may be informed of the nature of the interview. For example if it will be competency based or not. Always have a look on the internet as bigger organisations tend to have standardised processes and you may get lucky. You should also analyse the job specification so you can ascertain what skills they are looking for. This will allow you to think of examples of how you used those skills in the past. When answering competency based question use the STAR format.

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

Example Response using STAR

Interviewer: “Can you give me an example of when you had to work as a team”?

Interviewee: “Situation - In third year at University we had to work with an external organisation to produce a Marketing Plan.

Task - A group of four worked with Trans-Easy's owner and CEO to produce a feasibly study of the Logistical Solutions market he was trying to penetrate.

Action - We arrange to meeting the CEO fortnightly and report our progress as well as plan future tasks. I took notes and took record of what tasks were allocated to each group member. The group had interim meetings and I agreed to help others who were struggling with their allocated tasks so the project would keep to plan. I also acted as peace maker when some the group grew frustrated with one another. Upon completion of our report we made a formal oral presentation to the CEO and lecturer. These tasks were originally split evenly however I agreed to play a larger part in the presentation as one of group felt uncomfortable speaking in formal presentations.

Result - In addition to the merit we received for our work I learnt that each team member brings different skills/experience to a project. One valuable lesson I learnt is that I was over committing to group work which hindered my individual work. I also learnt that in a group some individuals are happy to take a back seat. This project gave me the confidence and ability to deal with group issues.

Within these STAR responses you can articulate other competencies you have. These are some typical ones for a manager:

  • Accountability for others - being responsible the performance of other employees
  • Commitment - motivation from within to focus on a task or goal
  • Correcting others - ability to confront issues in an objective manner; to have non-emotional discussions about disciplinary matters
  • Managing stress - maintain a calm demeanor and act professionally when emotions escalate to a higher level
  • Gaining commitment - develop and invoke a self start attitude in employees
  • Initiative - ability to direct energy towards the completion of a task without an external catalyst
  • Change management - adapt to significant changes with no personal resistance
  • Conceptual thinking - identifying and evaluate resources and plan for their utilisation
  • Meeting standards - understanding requirements for the job and commit to meeting them
  • Respect policies - understanding the rational for policies and adhering to them
  • Practical thinking - making practical/common sense decisions
  • Proactive thinking - forecasting future issues arising from current decisions or actions
  • Customer orientated - understanding the importance of meeting/exceeding customer expectations
  • Sales planning - plan activities with the objective of increasing sales
  • Assessing risk - identify and document risk in the workplace
  • Team player - ability to function effectively with in a group

Perceptions

You will be judged from the moment you walk into the interview room. Always wear a suit and polish your shoes. Enter the room with a warm smile and extend your hand for the introductory hand shake. You should always bring along some supporting documents and these should be carried in a professional file holder. Also make sure you don’t take an old chewed up pen. These all seem fairly obvious points but it is massively important to promote and image of professionalism and confidence. People pick up on small things like shoes and pen quality. The interviewer will make assumptions about you subconsciously so that needs to be managed.

Friendly

It may be your new line manager who is interviewing you. Think about what you look for in a colleague. As well as being competent and professional have you expressed your personality? This man or woman is also looking at you thinking: “can I work with this person”? Promote a friendly façade and open friendly body language. Smile a lot and try to find some common ground. You may like the same sports or come from the same town.

I hope this helps you and good luck. One final thing I wish to add. Prepare well, present well and be likable.

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    • Derek Ober profile image

      Derek Ober 4 years ago from Florida

      Great article containing solid advice! Voted up!

    • forlanda profile image

      Juancho Forlanda 4 years ago from US of A

      I like your STAR acronym to help remember the format to best answer interview questions.

    • Academicviews profile image
      Author

      Academicviews 4 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks, the STAR acronym is a widely used tool. I can't take credit for that I'm afraid. Thanks for the comments.

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