So, you’ve landed an interview – that’s a major step towards moving on to the next stage of your career. And now it’s time build on the CV that won you the interview in the first place, by making the right impression face-to-face.
An interview can be nerve-wracking for a number of reasons of course, not least because we often don’t know what it is employers are looking for in candidates.
While the job posting might have been clear about the qualifications and experience they require, what about the other variables? If they meet two equally qualified candidates, which one would they pick, and why?
Recruiters and HR teams often say that two of the most important traits someone can show in a successful interview include showing a good understanding of the company culture and demonstrating a positive personality. No matter how good someone might appear on paper, they won’t get the job if they come unprepared or their personality does not fit the culture of the company.
Learning the facts about a company is fairly easy. In fact, you probably did a fair amount of research before you decided to apply. But company culture can be a bit more elusive. It’s something of an intangible quality but it usually can be summarised in terms of the environment and atmosphere, whether it’s formal or casual or hierarchical, the working conditions, and expected attitudes and behaviours – the kind of people we are and the way we do things.
A traditional financial services firm, for example, will have a very different culture to an entrepreneurial start-up.
To get a sense of the culture, look up the “People” section on the company website, or check out LinkedIn to learn about who works at the company and what kind of work and educational background they come from.
Learning more about who your potential future co-workers might be is very useful: after all, you can get a good general idea about the company culture from the kind of people who work there. Ask your network and friends about the company; they might know someone who works there or have worked there themselves.
In addition to this, there are a few other things you can do to ‘ace’ your interview:
Don’t forget to prepare a list of your strengths and reasons why you are a great candidate, and have excellent questions ready for the interviewer (both about the role and about the company).
In terms of presenting yourself, stay professional - even if you’re interviewing at a company where staff dress casually and play ping pong in the break room, choose an appropriate outfit, be on time, and be polite to everyone you meet – from the person who greets you at the reception desk to the hiring manager.
Stay calm, listen carefully, answer all questions thoughtfully, and make it clear you’re glad to be there.
Good luck, and ace it!
April 26, 2019
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