Winning the Day: Top 10 Interview Tips

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Congratulations! They called. They like the skills and qualifications on your resume and have stepped up to schedule your interview. If you’ve moved up a notch or two due to Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), all the better. That puts you miles ahead of many. Lock in the job by considering a few important points and prepping properly.

1. Do Your Homework: Research the company website and review online information about them, such as SEC filings, and analyst’s reports. Seek out some inside intel by talking with friends, friends of friends, relatives, bloggers, or anyone else that has worked there to understand the culture.

2. Know the Quizmaster: Find out who will be interviewing you and do a little research on them to get a bead on their strengths and focus on their areas of interest. Also, score points for greeting them by name.

3. Tell the truth: Always. If a weakness rears its ugly head, and you know yours better than anyone, plan ahead of time how to turn that negative into a positive by addressing the issue with how you’ve improved performance. Here’s where skills recognition can take a front seat to the “pants on fire” applicant making things up to get the job. Use information from your RPL portfolio to illustrate expertise appropriate to the job.

4. Craft Your Story: Everyone’s got one. Make sure you’ve practiced yours and that is illustrates your experience and parallels the position you seek.

5. Copycat Chat: Match the interviewer’s tone and body language, taking cues from them to fit in.

6. Listen: Really listen, and hard, to what the interviewer is saying, and asking. Then take a moment to think before you respond or speak, considering the best answer. You would be surprised what a difference a few seconds spent organising your thoughts can make.

7. Don’t Ramble: Answer the interviewer’s questions with a clear, concise reply. This is a conversation, not a tell-all, so leave the fine details out of it unless otherwise requested.

8. Ask for the Job: You don’t get what you don’t ask for. State it plainly and politely, emphasising why you’re the right choice.

9. Manners Matter: Shake hands and say thank you at the end of the interview, regardless of how it went.

10. Send a follow-up thank you note: Bonus points for a handwritten note or a nicely typed letter with a signature, on nice paper.

Putting all these tips into practice will really help push your name to the top of the list. Additional rules of etiquette that go a long way are simple.

Know where you’re going and where to park or what bus to take, allowing ample time so you won’t be late. Plan to arrive 30 minutes ahead of time, but don’t enter the office or location more than ten minutes in advance. If you’re early, use the time for some preparatory review.

Choose a clean, well-maintained, appropriately-styled look for the job. If you’re in banking or finance, up the crisp and dandy factor a notch. If you’re in tech or advertising, show off a bit of your creativity, but don’t go overboard.

Smile and make eye contact. People like that. It shows sincerity as well as a pleasant demeanor. Nobody likes a grouch, and frowning makes you look old.

Lastly, and this is huge. Turn off your cell phone. Now, go get ’em, tiger!

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