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Top five interview dos and don'ts

It’s no surprise that a strong interview is a determining factor in securing a new position. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be - resulting in a better outcome.

To ensure you put your best foot forward we have outlined some common interview faux pas to avoid when facing the pressure of a job interview.

So, what are the top five things you should always do before or during an interview?

1. Do your homework

Preparation is the first essential step in the interview process, so don’t let yourself down before it’s even taken place. Researching the company you are meeting with will show your interest in the business and give you an upper hand. Look at their website and what’s happening in the news to widen your research and see what the media is saying about the company. Don’t limit your research to this alone - make sure you research the background of your interviewers, including their career history and specific achievements.

2. Make a good first impression

If you're going to a face-to-face interview, plan your trip there, do a trial run if it is at an unfamiliar location and arrive a few minutes early for the interview. Late arrival for a job interview is inexcusable. Bring your CV and ensure you know the dates and its specifics so you can confidently talk through your CV and give examples.

For a video interview, minimise technical issues by testing your video tool the day before your interview, on the day of your interview, ensure you are set up and ready to go at least 15 minutes before your scheduled time, in a quiet and comfortable place. You won't have the luxury of being able to offer a firm handshake or make eye contact with your interviewer, so the best alternative is for you to smile confidently and appear interested and engaged.

Looking the part is also important and you can rarely go wrong wearing a well-fitting suit. The amount of care you take in your presentation is a sign of your interest in the role and your seriousness in making a good impression.

3. Listen and respond accordingly

Too often the feedback from clients is that the candidate does not answer the question in a clear and direct manner. Don’t run circles around the questions, listen and answer accordingly while using examples from your experience to back it up.

4. Prepare smart, open ended questions to ask the interviewer

Remember that an interview is a two-way street, asking questions will help illustrate your interest and motivation to succeed in the role and company, as well as get you noticed and separate you from other candidates. It will also determine if this really is the opportunity or business you want to join.

Communicating your experience and successes clearly will highlight any of your strengths that are relevant to the role. 

5. Sell your strengths and expertise

Make sure that you communicate your strengths to the interviewer in a concise, factual and sincere manner. 

Now you know what you should do, what are the top five things you should not do at an interview?

1. Don’t speak poorly about your present or former employers

The interviewer will assume you will do this to them if you leave and question your professionalism. This is a big red flag to anyone interviewing a candidate.

2. Don’t falsify information

Answer questions truthfully and as close to the point as possible. Explain and describe things about yourself that relate to the position on offer, and truly reflect your past experience. If you are being probed in an area that is not a strength, be honest and let your interviewer know you are willing to learn or work on and how you can up skill in this area. Follow that with strengths you have in another area that you could bring to the table.

3. Don’t speak over the interviewer

It is important to be a good listener as well as a good talker. It shows that you are respectful and have strong interpersonal skills. If you are interviewing via a video platform remember that there will be a slight time delay, avoid rushing to answer a question in case your interviewer hasn't finished speaking.  

4. Don’t assume it isn’t an interview

Regardless of what interview stage you are at or who you are meeting - it may be over a coffee, a few drinks or just labelled a final chat - it is still used as an opportunity to assess your suitability for the potential role.

5. Don’t let any past rejections infringe on future ones

Finding a new job can be taxing, make sure you approach every interview as a new opportunity and learn from past interview mistakes. If you have several interviews lined up, try to leave some space between them to ensure you are at your best.

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