The best tips for a successful job interview

If you are invited for a job interview you know you’ve done one thing well; you’ve impressed with your CV and cover letter. But now comes the most challenging part, proving yourself in person that you’re worthy of the job. Read our tips about how to have a successful job interview.

Before the interview:

  • Read the vacancy carefully once more. Especially the part about the function criteria to know what is expected of you and how you will be able to apply your skills and knowledge.
  • Make sure that you know how many people will be at the interview and what their names and positions are. Google, LinkedIn and Twitter are the perfect tools to do research with.
  • Eat on time and light: a rumbling stomach is disturbing. Avoid the smell of garlic and cigarettes as much as possible.
  • Be present ten minutes early. You can refresh yourself, adjust to the atmosphere and gather your thoughts.
  • Dress professionally, try to find out what kind of company it is and adjust you clothing to this. If you do not know what the dress code is, it is better to dress too formal then too casual.

How do you want to look?

  • Give a firm, sure and short handshake. Weak and sweaty hands are never a good first impression.
  • Make sure you sit straight but don’t come across too stiff and on edge. Try to relax to some extent but definitely no slumping.
  • Look at your interviewer(s) during the interview. Make sure you have equal eye contact with all of your interviewers and don’t focus on just one person.

This is how you lead the interview:

  • Think carefully about each question asked. If you don’t know the answer straight away, it’s ok to say you need to think about it or to ask them to repeat the question. This way you’re not giving a half-hearted answer and it shows you’re putting thought into your answers.
  • Avoid repetition of your cover letter. The interview ought to give the company a better view and more detailed impression of someone. So make sure you elaborate and include additional interesting information.
  • Pro-actively take part in the interview. Think of a few questions that shows your knowledge about the position or the company as well.
  • If you ask a question, listen carefully instead of leaning back and thinking about the next question.

Questions that you better not asked.

  • Questions that are not (yet) of importance e.g. ‘how long does my trial time take?’. This sort of question is more appropriate for the final interview.
  • Do not discuss your salary too early on. You don’t want to give the impression that you are only interested in the salary and not the job itself. These questions you can ask in a following interview or during negotiations about working conditions.
  • Facts such as, ‘how many employees does this company have?’ or ‘what kind of departments are there?’ is something you should know already.

Tip to let the interview go smoother.

  • Make sure that you look professional.
  • Be kind and friendly but ensure you’re bringing your point across.
  • Put emphasis on the collective interest to fix a salary that is acceptable for both parties. Talk about ‘we’ and not ‘I’ consciously.
  • Do not get confused due to unexpected turns in the interview- not everything goes according plan. Stay calm and go along with the conversation.
  • Make sure that the tone of the interview remains positive.
  • Try not to get irritated during the interview if you do not come to an agreement.
  • Do not only focus on money. Look at the total package, including working conditions, growth prospects etc.
  • Listen carefully and be open to suggestions. Ask if something is not clear.