1. Control your nerves
If you are going for an interview it is only natural that you will feel nervous. Being scrutinised by a potential new employer can be daunting, but what is important to remember is that nerves can act as a barrier to your success.
Nerves can manifest in a variety of ways but one of the main things to overcome is the nervous silence. Candidates that become withdrawn and quiet, answering the bare minimum and leaving uncomfortable silences will be regarded as unenthusiastic and an employer may mistake your nerves for disinterest in the role.
2. Know what you are applying for and where
This is an extremely common early stumbling block for an applicant. Employers often ask questions regarding why you want to work at the company, or they may ask what you think the job role involves, and it is these questions that require you to have done your homework.
Studying the job ad often doesn't give much away. You must remember that there are other tools at your disposal. The company website; you can find out what projects they have recently undertaken, learn what goals are important to the business, see if they have any recruitment videos or press material. Google is your friend, and you can often find a wealth of information if you care to look.
I recently sat in on an interview where a candidate had done the leg work, and it was impressive. They had researched the company, researched the project, researched the industry and this candidate shone out of all of the others. Those who could only recite the jargon in the job ad paled in comparison and really let themselves down.
3. Always ask a question
When an interviewer asks if you have any questions the worst thing you can possibly do is say 'No.' This is a candidate's opportunity to show enthusiasm and understanding for the role, and those that ask insightful questions can really steal the show at interview.
Prepare questions in advance. Even a question as simple as asking what facilities are available for parking will show an interviewer that you can see yourself working there, and this is one of the most positive impressions a candidate can hope to leave. A lack of questioning will make a candidate seem less engaged.
4. Make yourself heard
No matter what style or approach your interviewer takes, the one thing they want is to hear what you have to say. Try to avoid giving short answers, elaborate fully and use all opportunities you have to express interest and enthusiasm for the role. Give examples and make reference to aspects of your CV to show where your previous experience would help you advance in this job.
I have sat in on interviews where the interviewer did most of the talking and while that can throw a candidate off, there is always an opportunity to sell yourself. Even in the closing moments when you are thanking the interviewer for their time, you can still add a few closing remarks to convince them of your passion for the job and company.
5. Dress appropriately for the job
It is important when going for an interview to dress appropriately. Candidates often range from the very smart- full suit and tie, to the oddly causal- jeans and trainers, but the casual dressers are always going to be compared to those who are more suitably attired. Often a happy medium can be found by aiming for a shirt/blouse and smart trousers/skirt (not too short).
There may be exceptions to the rule of smart, and it is also key to remember the company when choosing your outfit. One of my colleagues once ran a high street retail company and she would be the first to reject those who hadn't embraced the fashionable nature of the role at hand.