Five essential points to get across in an interview
Employers want to believe that you have a genuine desire to work for their organisation and will be a committed member of the team. There’s nothing worse than being faced with a candidate who hasn’t got a clue about the business and just wants any old job. That’s why it’s essential to demonstrate you understand the company’s history, plans and culture.
An internet search will usually reveal all you need to know about the main people in the business and whether there have been any major changes recently, such as the launch of new products or services. You don’t need to remember tons of information - a few facts and figures are enough to show you’ve done your homework.
Related skills and training
Your CV will contain the highlights of your education and career history but this is designed to be a concise document, so there may be other relevant points to discuss face to face. Before going into the interview, make a list of the less obvious but equally important skills you’ve acquired over the years, whether through formal training or self-development. These could include proficiency in different software programs, or internal training specific to your current or previous organization.
Having this list handy will allow you to easily demonstrate competency in a particular area, such as the ability to learn new systems and processes.
Measurable examples of success
It’s highly likely that your interviewer has already met several other candidates for the role, so you need to make sure you stand out from the competition. When discussing your abilities and experience, try to steer clear of over-used phrases that your potential employer has probably heard a million times before, such as “I’m a real people person” or “I pride myself on my work”.
Instead you should discuss situations where you demonstrated these qualities with a positive effect. For example, if you do pride yourself on your people skills then you may want to talk about a time when you led a team, helped a colleague or were commended for your excellent customer service.
Positive attitude and flexibility
In most roles, there are times when you will be expected to go above and beyond the call of duty, or do something that doesn’t technically fit within your remit, in order to get the job done. This is all part of the natural ebb and flow of working life and not something to be shirked.
Businesses need people they can rely on, so interviewees who demonstrate a willingness to be flexible and stretch themselves are more likely to be hired than those with rigid expectations or working habits.
If there’s ever a time to be on your best behavior it’s in an interview. This may seem an obvious point but it’s something all too many people forget. Be polite to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to your potential boss. Smile, say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when appropriate and show that you would be a friendly and valuable member of the team. When it comes to making a final decision between two equally qualified candidates, the one who comes across as most personable is bound to get the job!
If you remember all these points when preparing for an interview then you can feel confident you will perform to the best of your ability on the day. If you don’t get the job then try not to feel too disheartened. Instead try to think about where you could do better next time and take steps to fill any knowledge gaps or work on your interview technique with a friend.