1. Research the Company
So you’ve got the interview, how do you prepare? Well most of us adopt the “Chicken Researcher” approach, too embarrassed to speak to the company directly, relying on the Internet and asking friends. On the other hand the “Brave Researcher” wants to know about the company, the culture, their jargon and the type of people who work there. They call all the departments that communicate information about the company, such as Sales, Marketing, Public Relations and Human Resources. (For more on this type of vocabulary, see: Corporate Hierarchy) This critical information enables them to paint a picture in their minds of the exact culture and candidate profile the company is seeking. This picture is then used as a reference point for all their answers and “pacing”, discussed later in point 6.
2. Go Alone
Go to an interview alone, you’ll get there faster and it looks incredibly unprofessional to arrive with someone. Get your support from friends and family before the interview.
3. Arrive on time
Arrive on time, not too early or too late. Why? Well, if you arrive too early, you’ll put pressure on the interviewer and they’ll react badly to this and resent you disturbing their work. Arrive late and you’ll start the interview with an apology and provide the interviewer with evidence that you’re not time conscious. Also starting with an apology puts you into a subordinate role in the interview as opposed to the role you want as an equal and possible future colleague.
4. Make a Good First Impression
Although we all consider ourselves open-minded and fair, we usually make judgements about people in the first 2-5 minutes of meeting them. So, how do we make the right first impression?
-Direct eye contact for trust.
-A firm but gentle handshake.
5. Be Equal
Don’t take a subordinate role. Remember you’re talking to a potential colleague and an equal, you’re not asking for the job as a favour, you believe you have the skills and personality this company needs to continue being successful. There are two ways of viewing an interview, either as a problem-solving situation of “the interviewer and me against the problem” or as a confrontational situation of “the interviewer against me”. You decide. One good technique is, if the interviewer offers you the choice of where to sit, try and sit next to or beside the interviewer as opposed to a confrontational position of directly opposite.
6. Be like the Interviewer
Align yourself with the interviewer. Daniel Goleman, the famous author of “Emotional Intelligence,” talks about the powerful psychological impact of, “People like people who like them” and “People like people who ARE like them”. So how can we use this in an interview? Well, one technique to use is “Pacing.”
Pacing includes learning and using the company’s buzz words or jargon. Buzz words are popular words the company and its employees use when talking about the company or describing its products or services. Next use “Action Words” when answering. Action words are dynamic and energetic, it’s the language of achievers, examples include: “implement,” “initiate,” “persuade,” “effective,” “motivate,” “lead,” “innovate,” etc. Then try reading the body language of the interviewer and subtly copying some of it, but not all of it as it’ll become obvious. Finally, find an area of agreement and start to lead the interviewer toward the job offer. Lean forward in your seat slightly and try the phrases: “My background fits this position well,” “I’m excited about the position,” “I believe I fit the profile you are looking for,” “What you are offering looks like a long term position.”
7. Be Positive
Never criticize your previous employers. It looks incredibly unprofessional, inappropriate and tarnishes your image. Focus on past successes, not on the negative, it’ll enhance your image with the interviewer.
8. Flatter the Interviewer
Flattery will get you everywhere. We all love to receive flattery and compliments as long as it’s natural and not fake. Use your research about the company to give compliments about the interviewer and their company. Be natural and concentrate on the things that the company has done or does that have impressed you.
As the interview reaches its natural end you start to lose your concentration. Don’t! Maintain concentration and be as attentive as possible, continue listening for information, names, titles, buzz words, etc. to use in the second interview or follow-up letter! How? One technique is to drink a coffee before the interview to maintain your concentration for longer.
10. Make a Long-Lasting Impression
At the end of the interview, you want to make a confident and long lasting impression on your interviewer. How?
Direct eye contact for trust.
The words, “It sounds like a great opportunity” or “I’ll look forward to hearing from you.”
A firm but gentle handshake.