You’ve passed the application stage and you’re now preparing for the interview. Your future employer will not only have expectations of your performance but also in the way you present yourself. So how do you leave the employer with a good strong first impression of you?
1. Read our ‘How to be great at interviews guide’
While this is a guide about how to behave before, during and after an interview, we strongly recommend that you also read our definitive guide on how to be great at interviews. This will give you great examples of how to sell yourself during the interview as well as how to answer the typical questions you are bound to be asked.
2. Find out who will be conducting the interview beforehand
Prior to the interview, ask who is going to be on the interview panel. This will enable you to greet them by name – instantly making a good first impression. Not only that, but why not use LinkedIn to learn more about who you could potentially be working with? That way you will you also be able to ask appropriate questions about their time with the company you’re applying to.
3. Do your research on the company
Background research into the company will ensure that you are fully prepared for the interview and show your interviewer that you are knowledgeable and, more importantly, interested. For example: by complimenting them on a recent advertising campaign, a new product launch or discussing their approach to Corporate Social Responsibility, you demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in the position and in them.
4. Arrive on time
Punctuality gives the employer an indication of your time-keeping, which is a further indication of your ability to meet deadlines and arrive on time for work. Remember the interviewer has scheduled this time to meet you so if you are running late for your interview ring ahead and explain you will be late and give an estimated time of arrival.
5. Your interview starts as soon as you arrive
You could easily end up sharing a lift with your future manager, meaning a first impression could be made before the interview has even begun.
6. Listen to what the interviewer is asking you
Your interviewer will be looking to see how you tackle the challenging questions that they ask, as well as how you handle yourself under pressure. It can be tempting to either a) answer the question you wanted to hear or b) list everything you think is related to the question. Instead, listen to the question carefully, stop for a moment to think and then deliver your response. This will also help you in avoiding those verbal crutches that we all use when we are uncomfortable with a specific topic or question.
7. Maintain open body language throughout the interview
Non-verbal cues such as body language are just as important to the interviewer as what you are saying to them. Remaining open and attentive with the correct posture, maintaining eye contact and smiling are the small things that show the employer that you are interested and happy to be there.
8. Dress presentably for the interview
Certain companies have a dress code policy which as an interviewee you could be asked to follow. Even if you’re not sure, always err on the side of caution and ensure you dress smartly as this represents a level of respect towards the company you’re interviewing with.
9. Switch off your mobile or put it on silent
It is common etiquette to switch off your phone during the interview session so as to not cause disruption. If your phone should go off, cancel the call promptly and apologise to the interviewer so you can proceed with the rest of the interview.
10. Bring the correct equipment with you
Ensure that you bring the appropriate equipment with you i.e. spare copies of your CV and a list of contactable references should your interviewer require them. Try to refrain from bringing magazines or beverages which could distract from the interview itself.
11. Thank your interviewer
Ensure that you thank the interviewer(s) for their time, and conclude by reiterating your interest in the position followed by a firm handshake. Follow this up later with a formal thank-you note.
We hope that by following this advice you will leave a positive and lasting impression on the person interviewing you. Why not take the first step towards employing these tips in practice by applying for a job with Enterprise? We have internships, placements and graduate jobs available across the UK.