The best tips for a successful job interview.
Now, you've been invited for a job interview so you know you’ve impressed with your CV and cover letter. You now need to prove yourself in the interview by showing that you're the right the person for the company and position. Read our tips on how to ace a job interview.
Before the interview:
How do you want to look?
- Research the company by reading their annual reports and other sustainability reports. If the company is smaller, look over the information provided on their website. By doing this, you will be able to find out what is important to them, their history, values and goals for the future. This will provide you with a comprehensive view of what the company stands for and their culture.
- 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. How can you help the company get to where it wants to be in the future? Find that in the annual report or similar document.
- 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 with which you can do research.
- Eat on time and light: a rumbling stomach is disturbing. Avoid the smell of garlic and cigarettes as much as possible.
- Be present 10-15 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 your clothing to this. If you do not know what the dress code is, it is better to dress too formal than too casual.
This is how you lead the interview:
- In Europe in general, and, more specifically, in Ireland, give a firm, sure and short handshake. Weak and sweaty hands are never a good first impression in Europe.
- Make sure you sit straight but don’t come across edgy. On the other hand, don't slump, eat or chew gum.
- 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. Eye contact is very important.
Questions that you better not ask.
- 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 show 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.
Tip to let the interview go smoother.
- 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. You don’t want to give the impression that you're only interested in the money (which is understandable, but still...) and not the job itself. These questions you can ask in a follow-up interview or during other negotiations.
- Facts such as, ‘how many employees does this company have?’ or ‘what kind of departments are there?’ is something you should know already.
- 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 to 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.