First impressions are incredibly important, and they say you never get a second chance to make one. Research shows it just takes a tenth of a second for someone to make an initial assessment of you so what can you do to stack the deck in your favour? This checklist will walk you through 11 of them:
1. Prepare thoroughly for the interview, and double check everything - that's a given!
2. Dress for success, prepare an appropriate outfit the day before, have a sense of your body language, posture, and your tone of voice.
3. Build rapport with the interviewer, remember a smile is contagious!
4. Prepare a concise and skilful answer to the initial Tell me about yourself type opening questions that will often come up as icebreakers.
5. Research the company well enough to be able to say why you want to work for them, this is really important to employers- and can often make up for a lack of experience or a particular skill.
6. Have at least three great reasons, backed up with evidence, if asked Why should we hire you? You need to be able to connect the dots for the interviewer/s.
7. Show your self-awareness and emotional intelligence by being able to talk about your strengths, and your weaknesses with examples.
8. If asked, don't be worried about talking about a time you failed, everyone has at some point. And here's a secret, employers want people who can recover and learn from the unexpected and from failure, not necessarily people who have never failed and wouldn't have a clue how to handle it!
9. Spend time going over the job ad and have relevant STAR examples that map to the job description and person specification for any Tell me about a time when... questions that might come up.
10. Use storytelling in your answers. Remember you are the protagonist in your story and all stories have a narrative arc which relies not just on data and evidence (Logos), but also on emotion (Pathos)- how did you respond? And, what does your response reveal about your credibility and character to the listener (Ethos)? Paint the picture, be memorable and show them why you would be perfect for the role.
11. Prepare at least 3 compelling questions to ask them at the end. Never say you don't have any because that implies a lack of interest!
Remember, you're doing great- it's perfectly normal to feel a little anxious in an interview but get those butterflies in your stomach to fly in formation for you so you can really showcase your value and enthusiasm. You have a lot to offer so embrace your potential, you were shortlisted for a reason... because you're awesome, just let them see how much!