How to Maximise Your Job Interview Chances

These are some tips that I’ve picked up over years of job interviews… some successful, some not. I hope you find them useful! If you have any additions or criticisms, feel free to leave a comment.

  1. Keep in mind one key point… this is NOT a life and death situation. The worst that can happen is that you won’t be offered the job. 
  2. Dress well, and comfortably. Business shirt and trousers. Nice shoes, polished. Matching socks. Tie (if you’re male). Discreet jewellery, if you’re female. Deodorant (if it’s a spray, apply at least an hour before the interview, those things get suffocating in close quarters). Breath mints.
  3. Leave early, to arrive at least half an hour early. I’m not recommending that you actually turn up half an hour early (although ten minutes is often good). But leaving early allows for most mixups and delays on the way, and should stop you arriving flustered, sweaty and late. Take a book or other entertainment, and if you arrive early, relax somewhere nearby until close to the interview time.
  4. Be confident. You look damn good. You ARE damn good. Straighten your back. Lift your chin. Shoulders back and relaxed. Smile.
  5. Remember that your interviewer is human too. Show some interest in him/her. Ask how their day has been, listen to the answer, commiserate if it’s been cruddy.
  6. Speak slowly. Most of us rush our words when we’re nervous.
  7. Take a few moments to think before answering a question. This can save a lot of blundering around a point you know you had a second ago.
  8. If you get lost in a sentence, stop, apologise, then start the sentence over. Everyone makes mistakes, so there’s no need to let it fluster you. Most interviewers have had interviews themselves, and understand. A simple “I’m sorry, I’ve completely lost what I was talking about!” and a smile will tend to go down well.
  9. Show interest in the position you’re applying for. Where possible and appropriate, ask a couple of questions which will show that you know what you’re talking about, and that will give you an idea of how you’d fit in. For example, I’m a tech writer. I might ask about how big the team is, what authoring software they use, and whether I’d be more involved in simple document fixes or in a planning/mentoring role. Don’t go overboard, though.

2 Responses

  1. At the risk of sounding duh, are you out of work at the mo??

    I thought you had found something……

    If not, good luck with the hunt.

  2. I’m not out of work… but I am looking for something that pays better. I’m getting a ridiculous amount less than the current market rate right now.

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