An interview happens very quickly. Before you know it you’re saying your goodbyes and wondering when you will hear back. Your challenge in that time is to leave an impression that will make sure the hiring manager doesn’t forget you. Here are our expert interview tips that will help you create that positive and lasting impression during your interview.
Those opening moments
According to psychologists, when we meet a new person, we quickly make assumptions about them depending on what little information we hear or gather in that short time.
John Lees, the author of The Interview Expert and a career coach, says that interviewers use that short period of time they talk to you to form their own judgements about you and most times it depends on how well you interact with them. This is what they will look back on when making their decision on who to hire.
You need to prepare well before going for an interview. Try to practice how to be relaxed while talking and responding to questions, also practice how to make small talk.
Show and tell
Having a proof of something significant you did before will leave a memory especially if the interviewer can take it with him/her. I’m not talking about bringing up your final year science project and then describing it abstractly. I mean something that is visible enough for you to show the interviewer. According to Michael Bennett, the managing director of Rethink Group, doing this will make you unforgettable in the interview. Leaving something behind, like a printed color screen shot of your very own website or an article whose content you wrote, will definitely get the interviewer to remember you.
Manage your messages
Research has shown that people don’t remember everything they hear in a speech, they only latch on to two or three significant things. You need to know what significant messages you want to pass across to the interviewer before you walk into the room. John Bennett’s advice is that you should stick mostly with those messages that are related to the job description but also leave allowances for those that are related with you being the right candidate for the job. Make sure all the points you gathered get to the ears of the interviewer before the interview is over.
Sound like you’re revealing all
Interviewers ask questions to try to get significant information out of you. So be sure to show surprise at the question to give the interviewer the feeling that they are close to their mark, especially with questions that involve past experiences. Your answers should still be the same as rehearsed but should be said in a way that gives the interviewer a sense of positive feedback.
Be a good cultural fit
Even though the main aim is for employers to be sure that you are capable for the job, there are still other factors involved in deciding whether to hire you or not. They need someone who can blend in with the company. Like career coach, Ruth Winden of Careers Enhanced says, ‘companies nowadays look for both professional capability and cultural fit’. You need to be able to show, through your answers, that you love the company, that you believe in their ethos,values and culture, and that you are a good fit. Little things like cultural fit would make you unforgettable to the interviewer.
Put a number on it
Don’t just make general statements about how you increased sales or managed money in your former work. That is not to say that you should flood your page with figures, just pick two or even one main figure that will corroborate your story and remain in the interviewers memory.
If there’s a lot of valid information to get across, and the figures are relevant to the role, you could always create a colorful infographic and leave a print-out behind.
Leave a trail of energy
Don’t stick to only facts and figures to talk about your achievements, be creative, tell stories about them. According to John, people are less likely to remember facts, they remember the stories–especially energetic ones. Be energetic and excited when the opportunity presents itself. This energetic nature will make the interviewer know that you’ll be dedicated to the work and you will be in his mind for a long time.
Ask stimulating questions
Prepare questions to ask after your interview session. These ending moments are as important as the opening moments when it comes to leaving long impressions.
John issues a warning saying: Don’t ask questions that the answers are quite obvious, it would make the interviewer impatient and also don’t ask about salary or benefits in order not to put off the interviewer. He suggests you ask questions that have to do with your learning, career growth rate, and what you expect to see in the company.
Michael confirmed John’s advice and added that these questions may seem simple and obvious but too many people would bring a lot of complicated and serious questions. Your questions will turn you into the candidate that asked an informed question and you will surely be remembered.
The follow up
Michael suggests that you do a follow up of your interview either by calling or sending an email. You can use this call to ask more questions about the company, this will make the employer know that you have a true interest in the company. Also, any complaints or questions about your application can be addressed by the interviewer when you call.
To create a unique impression, you can leave a personalized card or a handwritten note using a quality paper. ‘An envelope or note on a person’s desk will grab attention faster than an email’, Ruth says.
It may sound really strange and awkward to you, but it really works to differentiate you from the others.