You will often hear people say job interviewing is an act. As a candidate, it is your act. You and the interviewer(s) both know the rules; it is up to you to convince the interviewer that you are the best for the position.
The interviewer is the audience, and they have choices. They are the independent, often sceptical party who needs proof of suitability before they can buy what you are selling. In this case you are selling yourself; your skills, personality and likability (yes). All these need an act.
The winner in this performance is the individual who has good answers and does not make any mistakes during their presentation. Are you capable of doing both? In this article, we shall examine how to convince prospective interviewers that you are the one for the job.
The positive factors of an interview
Fitting into the company culture
One of the major concerns of any interviewer is how you would fit into the company culture. This is a loaded topic because it is a subjective decision. Before attending any interview, find out as much as you can about their company culture. Which of your personalities resonate most with this culture? Presenting them in an interview increases your chances of success.
You can find out about a company’s culture by talking to the present and past employees. Reading their publications, news pieces and CEO’s public address can give you an idea of how they behave. Build on these traits prior to the interview.
What kind of image do you present?
Companies have a certain brand image to project, and in addition to their visual and graphical brand elements, employees are the face of the business. Presenting the right kind of image is key to determining how well you will do as an ambassador of the company.
Once again, do your research to discover what this image is. Are they more professionally disposed? Do they present a casual image, or a mixture of both? If they are a down-to-earth brand, then dressing to the teeth might be an overkill.
A candidate who expresses a great deal of passion and enthusiasm, as well as knowledge of the company is deemed attractive.
Give a positive impression
Interviews are about first impressions. Unlike other applications, you’ll hardly get another opportunity to make a good first impression, so by all means, make the first one count. Dressing and acting the part will give you a good head start.
Don’t forget to smile too. However, don’t overdo it or you will come off as trying too hard. Nothing puts off an interviewer quicker than a pretentious candidate. Make it natural and effortless, the rest will fall through.
The negative factors of an interview
This is an instant interview killer. Not being sure of yourself, failing to provide specific examples, or flunking many of the interview questions will leave your interviewers unimpressed. Naturally, they will opt for a more confident candidate with the right answers.
It is not unusual to be nervous, but learn to tone it down during the interview. Practice breathing exercises, and familiarise yourself with the interviewers ahead of the interview. Look them up online to “break the ice”. Keep your body language confident and believe in yourself.
Avoid indulging before an interview
Some things are generally considered as a no-no and should be strongly avoided. For instance, smoking before an interview or wearing to much perfume can write you off immediately. Showing up late or chewing gum during an interview will count against you.
Practice self-discipline and keep that cigarette till after your interview. Ask a friend if your perfume is okay, and make room for traffic by leaving the house early to avoid being late. Sometimes, it is the little things that may count against you.
Avoid these little mistakes
Employers can pick little things in your interview that could work against you. For instance, bad mouthing a previous employer is always perceived as a red flag. Being very opinionated or lying are bad traits. Some people even go as far as arguing or making the interviewer feel “bad”. Cut out any confrontational traits from your behaviour.
While it is not advisable to be too meek in an interview, being overbearing is a no-no. Keep it a fine line in between and you will be okay.
Finally, endeavour to “role-play” with a friend before an interview. Envisage likely questions and practice answering them as naturally as possible. Being yourself is the fastest way to gain an interviewer’s approval.