Five Rules to Nail the Interview and Land that Dream Job
What do you think are the most stressful things you will experience over your lifetime? I would imagine that Moving Home, Wedding Organisation, kicking a wayward football back to a group of strangers in the park, picking up a dropped I phone of the floor or clearing your internet browser history as a 16yr old are somewhere up there in terms of stress levels.
Another typically stressful experience that we all, from time to time, have to go through, is the job interview. Any interview is stressful but a job interview that seemingly interrogates and brings into question your very character or abilities. Especially if it is a job you really, really, really (apologies for excessive use of the word really) want!
However DONT PANIC! Follow Me My Suit And Tie’s 4 steps to give you every chance of coming across as th1e best thing since sliced bread… or umbrella hats.
1. Be Prepared
Being organised is key to ensuring you are in the best mental state when arriving for the interview. You do not want any unexpected surprises on the day.
Have a quiet night the evening before the interview. Resist the temptation to join party animal Pete on one of his legendary nights out and opt for something a little calmer and less hangover inducing instead. This being said however it is not recommended to try and force sleep. A bit like jumping into bed early on Christmas eve in an effort to make it Christmas day already.
You’ll inevitably end up tossing and turning while trying to stop your brain from asking questions like - Why does triangularly cut bread taste better than square bread?
Or Whose cruel idea was it to put an ‘s’ in the word “lisp”? Try to keep your evenings itinerary as normal and calm and if possible refrain from eating or exercising within three hours of going to sleep. Admittedly, regular exercise can make it easier for you to sleep eventually but you should make sure to leave your body plenty of time to wind down afterwards.
Get up early. Not too early but early enough to ensure plenty of time to do everything you need to do without the usual added stress. You want to be able to calmly get ready for the day ahead, not rushing around because you have given yourself only 10 minutes to get up and out.
Have a nice relaxed breakfast, try keep it clean and healthy. Cereal, fruit or toast will keep you going without weighing you down, avoiding that sluggish post food coma you’d get if you opted for that ‘Belly Buster’ full English breakfast from the local cafe.
One or two strong cups of coffee or tea is always recommended, just try to keep a count on how many cups you have drunk as a shaking and sweating applicant who is repeatedly running to the toilet mid-interview is not an ideal memory to leave them with.
Make sure that you already know what you are going to wear and that it is already washed and ironed. The last thing you want to discover on the day is a glaringly obvious rip or stain on an unfortunate area of your outfit. I will touch more on outfit selection in step 3.
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2. Be Punctual
If your interview is set early on in the day make sure you have everything planned out in advance. You want to make sure that you know exactly how you are going to get to the interview and how long that journey may take. If using public transport make sure to check that the intended service has no planned strikes or delays. Equally if you are planning on driving, check for planned roadworks and take potential traffic into consideration.
If it is an early interview you will probably encounter rush hour to some degree again resulting in an increased travelling time and one irate job prospectee. Also, if driving, make sure you know where you are planning to park. This is something you can call and politely ask your future employer, although this should be done well in advance of the interview. Calling and asking where to park five minutes prior to the interview is too late.
If the interview is later on in the day you may want to find a legitimate excuse to finish your current work day slightly earlier.
Possible excuses to use are.
- “I had a dodgy curry at the Indian down the road and it now feels like my stomach is falling out of me.”
- “I have to go help my grandma bake cookies to send to everyone who came to see her when we thought she was dying.”
- “My dog/cat/kid has an all over body rash and I need to take it to the vets/doctors before it closes.”
- “My partner has suddenly gone into labour and I want to be by her side to welcome my new heir into this cruel world” (an extremely effective excuse but difficult to continue long term)
- “My intimate surgery needs looking at as it is discharging a greeny, sticky residue and has started to smell a bit like Pickled Onion Monster Munch.”
I would refrain from using death as a possible excuse. You are in all likely hood going to be attending a number of different interviews. Your current employer may become suspicious if over a short period of time you have had to leave work early due to your nan dying a few times.
Essentially always make sure you have plenty of time to get to the interview. However long you estimate it is going to take, ADD MORE. Arrive early and have enough time to compose yourself, in doing so you also showing the interviewer how eager you are and how good your time management is.
Whatever happens do not be late!
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If the interviewer asks you if you found the place ok… tell them that you were “driven by cab”, then after a subtle pause follow with “Normally of course I am driven by results” then follow with a wink.
Know as much about the company you are interviewing for as possible. You want to give the impression that you are a big admirer of what they do or what they stand for. Knowing some of the history of the company will impress and show that you have a good understanding of what it is you are applying for. Also, flattery will no doubt help you to get on their good side.
Good examples of what to say to ensure flattery are:
- “You are so clever you are like Google and Mary Poppins combined.”
- “If you were the last person on earth I think even the zombies wouldn’t attack you, out of respect.”
- “Your outfit today receives a massive two thumbs up from me.”
- “I know we have just met but I am guessing we are going to be best friends forever.”
Researching can also give you an important insight into what your expected dress code will be, which will be important for step 4.
4. Look the Part
First impressions are incredibly important and they are made within the first seven seconds of contact. This means that the moment you open that door of the meeting room, the interviewer is already judging and making up their opinion of you. This first impression will be decided on how you look, sound and even the way you smell.
Your research from step 2 should have given you an idea of suitable attire for the interview. It is always better to look overdressed rather than under as it reflects how interested you are in the job and so is better to look over keen than unenthusiastic.
The idea is that your personality, experience and background should be speaking for you. This goes without saying but make sure that the suit you choose is clean and pressed. Crisp and neat is the key when deciding on what to wear for an interview.
Recommended Basic checklist:
- Suit - Navy blue or grey, two or three buttoned and single breasted.
- Shirt - White cotton shirt with a simple collar.
- Tie - Block coloured or with subtle pattern. Blues are recommended but keep away from any orange.
- Shoes - Black or brown lace ups. Avoid buckles, slip-ons or Velcro.
Make sure you are well groomed. Shave on the morning of the interview and make sure you use a light aftershave. If you are however sporting an impressive beard, make sure that it is well maintained. Looking like Tom Hanks in Castaway wont impress even if you can do a great impression of the iconic Wilson scene.
For a more in-depth insight into how to dress why not check out our Interview #1 - What to Wear blog for a more detailed description of possible outfit choice.
5. Game Face
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After the interviewer has absorbed what they have seen of you the next influencing factor will come from what you say and how you act. You need to believe in yourself and project confidence or at least look like it. If you don’t seem to believe in yourself why should a complete stranger? Luckily if you have followed step 3 you should already, at least from a physical aspect, be on your way to suggest this.
A few tips on how to act in order to project confidence are:
- Loosen your tie as you enter the room and say “Wow is it me or did it just get 100% more dynamic in here?”
- When asked “how are you?” reply “goal orientated”. This can then be followed by a high five or even pressing your finger to your chest whilst making a sizzling sound.
- Make sure you tell your interviewer that you are a aplican not an applicant. Follow this by kissing your fist and punching the air.
- Show the Interview how much you want the job by performing the entire dance routine from Michael Jackson’s Bad but singing I want this job so bad, so bad you know it! A diamond-encrusted glove will help get the impression across.
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Find out your interviewers name. If you dont or if you happen to forget it during the interview, a safe alternative is to address them as Jobsy or Jobbo.
For more on how to act have a look at our Interview #2 - Face to Face blog for more advice.
So there it is your 5 step guide on how to nail the interview and land that dream job. Take from it what you want but I guarantee you that if followed, this list will leave your interviewer with no option but to either hire you or call security. Either way you are guaranteed to make an impression.