You have meticulously crafted your resume, reviewed it multiple times, and submitted it to the organization of your dreams for the position you aspire to. A few weeks later, you receive a communication from them, announcing that you have been selected for an interview, scheduled in two weeks.
Your heart is filled with elation, yet a fleeting sensation of uncertainty lingers within you. As the days pass, this uncertainty grows, evolving from a mere concern into genuine anxiety.
Fear not! We are here to guide you through this process. If you haven’t yet explored our previous post detailing strategies for handling the 10 most common interview questions, we highly recommend doing so. These insights could prove invaluable. After extensive research and analysis of various interview tips available online, we have distilled five essential ‘truths’ about job interviews that you would be wise to consider before the significant day arrives.
Through a number of interview tips on the Net, I’ve come up with five ‘truths’ about job interviews that you should note prior to the big day itself.
1. Impress EVERYONE
Many interviewees are unaware that some organizations seek the opinions of receptionists when making hiring decisions. After all, formal interviews may not reveal the social skills that candidates may or may not possess. A well-rounded assessment might consider what happens behind the scenes, particularly how interviewees behave while waiting for their turn.
This is the moment when they meet other job applicants and the receptionist, providing an excellent opportunity for potential employers to evaluate their people skills in an informal setting.
Body Language Speaks
Receptionists can often discern whether an interviewee is well-prepared, and they may even have a rough gauge of the person’s personality based on their demeanor.
For instance, if you are fumbling through your interview notes or frequently visiting the restroom, the receptionist might interpret this as anxiety or insecurity.
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On the other hand, if you enter the waiting area composed, with a friendly smile and a positive outlook, the receptionist will likely conclude that you are thoroughly prepared for the interview.
What Should You Do Then?
Simply behave as you would if you knew you were being watched or interviewed. Some interviewees tend to use those moments to rehearse or relax a bit before entering the room.
Little do they realize that they are being observed. As long as you don’t do anything strange or inappropriate, you won’t be marked down unnecessarily.
2. First Impressions Really Do Count
We all know that first impressions matter, especially when meeting someone new. This becomes even more significant during occasions like an interview, where someone is deliberately assessing you, scrutinizing your speech and body language.
In fact, the first five minutes of your interview are the critical moments for you to make an impression. Miss this opportunity, and you might find yourself losing the deal, even if you have submitted a top-notch resume.
One Chance to Nail It
Psychological studies have shown that it takes only seven to seventeen seconds to form that initial impression with someone new. In the context of interviews, where interviewers consciously remind themselves to stay objective, the first impression might take longer to form.
Nevertheless, the key takeaway is that the quicker you project yourself as a promising potential employee during the interview, the higher your chances of landing the job.
After all, not all interviewers are well-trained, making them susceptible to influences like the first impression you provide.
The Bare Necessities
There are several things you should be mindful of, and you’re likely already aware of them. Factors such as punctuality for the interview, adherence to the dress code, maintaining a straight yet relaxed posture, making eye contact, and smiling are essential in making a positive impression.
It’s also crucial to provide a compelling introduction of yourself when prompted by the interviewer. This is your opportunity to demonstrate confidence and passion for the job by varying your tone of voice and exhibiting appropriate body language.
3. Gestures Speak Louder Than Words
Non-verbal communication encompasses facial expressions, eye contact, hand movements, posture, and more. Social psychologists assert that such non-verbal communication constitutes nearly two-thirds of all communication between individuals. What this implies for you, as an interviewee, is that landing the job relies more on your physical movements than on what you articulate.
Of course, it’s only fair to acknowledge that a successful interview likely requires a combination of both non-verbal and verbal communication. It would indeed be peculiar to witness someone securing their dream job without uttering a single word during the interview!
The general guideline is to maintain a positive and upbeat attitude about yourself and the position for which you’re applying. Strive to be as confident as possible as you extend a firm handshake, introduce yourself, and address the questions methodically.
Additionally, it’s wise to be mindful of what you might do subconsciously when feeling anxious. Common signs of interview jitters include leg shaking, hair stroking, and finger tapping.
4. Know Your Resume Inside-Out
Remember, you’ve already submitted your resume, and the interviewer has read it prior to the interview. This means they are likely to question you based on that document.
The resume holds only the critical information that you want the reader to grasp. They will have the chance to delve into the details with you during the interview itself.
By the way, if you are looking for new ideas to make your resumes stand out, we suggest:
- How to Craft Professional Resume with ChatGPT
- 45 Creative Resumes to Seize Attention
- 25 other innovative ideas for resumes
Practice What You Preach
In addition to practicing how to answer the questions they will pose, know your resume like the back of your hand so you can cite evidence and concrete examples to support your claims. You may assert that you have rich, in-depth experience with customer service, but they will expect you to explain why and how.
This is when you should recall a time when you handled a very difficult customer successfully. If you have already thought of this example while reviewing your resume, relaying the incident will come easily.
Blow That Trumpet
Having examples of incidents when you exhibited a certain quality essential for the job is just one area to focus on.
Another aspect they are interested in hearing about is the figures in your list of achievements in your previous jobs or posts. For instance, how much increase in net profit have you contributed to the organizations you worked with previously? Such numbers provide evidence to substantiate your various claims. Anticipate questions targeting those parts of your resume that are relevant to the position you’ve applied for.
5. You’re Expected to Ask Questions
As the interview nears its end, you should anticipate the interviewer asking if you have any questions. Failing to ask any questions is a significant mistake, as it may reflect poorly on you. It can give the impression that you’re not enthusiastic enough about the job to inquire further. This moment is truly an opportunity for you to shine, but only if you ask the right questions.
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Ask the Right Questions
First and foremost, avoid asking close-ended questions that can be answered with a simple YES or NO. While some interviewers may be kind enough to elaborate further, you can’t always count on that. Asking such questions may lead to an awkward silence, and chances are you won’t receive the answer you were seeking.
Secondly, be aware that some interviewers may evaluate you based on the nature of your questions. If your question is overly simple and the answer could have been found by exploring the organization’s website, it may indicate that you didn’t adequately prepare for the interview. However, if you demonstrate thorough research through your questions and present an intelligent inquiry, the interviewer is likely to be impressed, earning you additional points.
There are no hard and fast rules about the kinds of questions you should ask, but keep in mind that this is your last chance to seal the deal before the interview ends. On the other hand, if you have burning questions that need clarification, go ahead and ask them, even if they don’t sound impressive. After all, an interview is a bi-directional process that involves your participation to find the job that fits.