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Interview Techniques Part 1: How to give your interview a head start...

So you’ve sweated and toiled for weeks to create the perfect resume and have compiled a list of search firms, executive recruiters and headhunters that you run through religiously every day. You have spent hour upon hour submitting your resume only to receive the dreaded ‘you have not been successful on this occasion’ message or been ignored completely.

You are tired of fighting the fight and looking for that next executive role feels harder than actually doing it. One day, you fire up your PC ready to run through the usual treadmill of rejection emails and one of your executive search firms informs you that you have been invited for interview. Suddenly, it all seems worth it, you quickly scan back to check which recruiter has cut you some slack and given you the time of day. Then the pangs of dread set in as you prepare for that up and coming interview.

Remember, executive search firms can open doors but it is you who has to walk through them…
You know you must have impressed the company with your written application but now, it is up to you to live up to that resume and prove that those words were not just ‘pie in the sky’.

First things first…
It has been said that the first impression is often the last impression, so you need to gain a feel of the company’s dress code. Why not take it upon yourself to visit their premises prior to interview? This way you can familiarise yourself with their dress code and choose your wardrobe accordingly. Take a browse around their website to see if the company is set in its ways with an old fashioned style and traditional views or whether it is modern and innovative. The last thing you want to do is stand out like a sore thumb in a flamboyant shade of red when everyone else is dressed in grays and blacks. If your potential employer notices at first glance that you blend in with the companies dress style; you are already another step closer to clinching that job as you have created a look which immediately makes you look like one of the team.

Now you have the outfit sorted out; it is time to consider how you will present yourself when you first meet your interviewer. The last thing you want to do is look nervous even if you are quaking inside. Keep your hands dry so as your handshake is firm. A good way to keep those mitts sweat free is to eliminate as many stresses as you can before arriving for the interview. Ensure that your clothes are ironed and neatly pressed the evening before, plan a stress free route and allow plenty of time for travel.

Prior to interview, don’t forget to do some in-depth research to unveil an area where the company could become more pro-active and suggest a solution to the problem. If this is proving too difficult, memorise a scene where you were able to resolve a problem in the past and highlight the benefits that your action produced. If possible use actual figures or percentages to emanate your point and show that your actions really can speak louder than words. An employer needs to visualize you fulfilling this role and therefore needs to build up a positive picture of you.

Whilst you are waiting to be called in, talk to as many people as possible, whether it is other applicants for that looming ‘Spanish Inquisition’ or the receptionist, anyone who will keep you motivated and focussed. When your name is called and you come face to face with your prospective employer, maintain a good level of eye contact and wear a smile with your outfit. Introduce yourself with confidence and politeness and sit in the interview chair with a good upright posture, hands and fingers still and resting on your lap, so no nail biting…

You didn’t think we’d leave you there did you? Look out for the second part of this article which will guide you through each stage of the interview process.

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