How to have a successful interview: VHR's 8 top-tips
Posted - 18 July, 2017
As a global technical recruitment company, VHR is well equipped with ‘top tips’ for interview techniques. Job interviewing can be daunting, but remaining upbeat and enthusiastic is essential - as interviews are all about self-promotion and selling your skills. As advice on how to achieve an excellent, successful interview, below are VHR’s top 8 interview tips.
The most important tip to remember is that it’s not necessarily what you say that makes the first impression; your interview begins the minute you step through the door, so take note of the following:
Smiling can immediately warm an atmosphere and ensure positive reactions. It will also calm you down as well as ease the rest of your body.
Make eye contact with your interviewer; this means connections can be made and engagement will appear confident.
Have a firm handshake and stand tall – slouching can make you appear either timid or bored.
Be on time:
Always be on time for an interview, even if that means being early – nothing makes a worse impression than being late - it can show a lack of organisation and poor punctuality. Below are a few ideas as how to avoid being late:
Set an alarm far in advance; the earlier you wake; the more time you have to prepare which will in turn calm your nerves
Organise your outfit the night before, don’t rush in the morning as you may either make a bad decision or create unnecessary stress
Source the location of your interview well in advance as this will enable you to plan your transport route
Allow yourself extra travelling time to get to the interview; these extra few minutes before your interview starts will enable you to visit the rest room, fix your outfit and calm your nerves.
Print copies of your résumé and grab a notepad and pen at least the day before the interview
Research the company:
Prior to your interview day, ensure you do your homework about the employer/company and the industry you are applying to be a part of. It’s almost a guarantee that you will be asked the question “What do you know about the company?” and you don’t want to be stuck for words. The best information to come prepared with is:
The company’s role in the specified industry
The interviewer’s name
The company’s clients (if they have any), partners and competitors
Knowledge of the most recent projects, case studies, news, blogs and press articles
Practicing interview questions before the big day will enable help alleviate some stress and nerves - the more you prepare, the more comfortable and successful you will be at interviewing. Practicing your responses to a ‘typical’ job interview question will enable you to think of examples that best highlight your skill-set.
VHR recommends you make a list of requirements expected from the job role you are applying for, and then match them with your past experience, personality attributes and qualifications (provide examples of evidence for validity).
Ask yourself, can you demonstrate, from these questions, your development, success and progression? Or is your answer too generic?
Below is a list of questions frequently asked in job interviews
Tell me what you know about this company?
Explain what you think you can bring to this role?
Where do you see yourself in your future?
What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Tell me about a time you best handled stress successfully?
What problems did you identify in your last job role and how did you tackle these?
What characteristics do you think are important to have for this job role?
Nevertheless, some of the world’s leading companies such as Google, Facebook, AirBnB and Apple often ask incredibly difficult and quirky interview questions in order to separate the generic from the creative. Below are a few, weird and confusing examples:
On your very best day at work - the day you come home and think you have the best job in the world - what did you do that day?
If I was talking to your best friend, what is one thing they would say you need to work on?
What would you do if you were the one survivor in a plane crash?
If you woke up and had 2,000 unread emails and could only answer 300 of them how would you choose which ones to answer?
Additional, as well as preparing how to answer questions asked to you, also ensure you have a list of your own questions to ask the employer; this will highlight you intuition, enthusiasm and knowledge.
Project self-promotion confidently:
Your skills, qualifications and past experience are an integral when being considered for the job. However, employers will also hire candidates based on whether they like them and whether they will fit well into the company’s culture also; therefore, it is important for the candidate to project self-promotion confidently and accurately in order to build rapport and make a personal connection with the interviewer.
Not a big fan of self-promotion? VHR has the answer!
Find the fine-line between arrogance and pride; ensure you show dignity and modesty
Try to avoid cliché answers
Carefully outline that your strengths will solve their problems by making sure they’re based around achieving the jobs key requirements
Try to avoid a heavy use of adjectives and stick to data and facts.
With the likelihood of being asked “what are your strengths”, devise a list as preparation, but also include facts, aspirations and personal wishes to make your statement more personable and relatable
Give examples as evidence of what you’re claiming
Show what you know:
Try to relate to what you know about the company and how your experience is relevant when answering questions. For example, when you are discussing your career accomplishments, ensure you match them with what the company is looking for (analyse and study the job brief if necessary). Additionally, it’s a good idea to use specific phrases that allow the interviewer to acknowledge that you understand their company, for instance:
‘I have noticed that..’
‘I am aware of..’
‘I appreciate that..’
‘It is apparent that..’
Also, it is important to reflect on your body language also. One great tactic is to nod your head from time to time; this shows the interviewer you understand and agree with the points they are making.
Both before and during the job interview, try to relax, control your nerves and stay as calm as possible; remember, your body language speaks as much volume as your answers to the questions do. A few examples of how to remain calm are as follows:
Take deep breaths
If you feel the need, mention your nervous to the interviewer (everybody has been interviewed before and can appreciate your nerves).
Maintain eye contact with the interviewer to gage their reactions
Listen to the entire question they are asking and do not interrupt – if you pay enough attention you won’t be embarrassed and forget the question.
Take your time in responding with your answer
Try not to speak too fast – ensure they can understand you clearly
Be yourself and smile!
After an interview, it is always both respectful and thoughtful to follow-up with a thank you email reiterating your keen interest in the job position. In this email, you could also include any remaining details that you may have forgotten to mention during your interview.
VHR recommends that you send your thank you note within 24 hours of your interview and if multiple people interviewed you, ensure you send each person a note.
Following up on an interview not only shows the interviewer that you are enthusiastic and keen, but it also reflects your friendliness and proves you are team spirited which leaves a memorable, lasting impression. Start as you mean to go on!
VHR is a Global Technical Recruitment Consultancy providing world-leading recruitment services and solutions to the Aerospace & Aviation, F1 & Automotive, Engineering & Defence and Marine industries around the world.