The thought of going for an interview evokes a feeling of nervousness and self doubt in the most seasoned professionals. After all, you’re being judged based on your CV, your appearance and verbal skills and all you’ve got is a mere 20 minutes to make an impression.
Take comfort in knowing you aren't alone, take a deep breath, follow our list tips, and we're sure you'll ace your interview! All the best, ladies!
1. Be punctual
Yes, we understand that the traffic was just insane, or your taxi broke down, or your train was late. But you're interviewer sees your tardiness as a sign of disrespect for his time. Plan for contingencies. Get to the office at least 10 minutes before the interview to give you time to calm down, catch your breath and get a sip of water. If possible, request to use the ladies room to touch up your makeup and check your hair, dab a bit of perfume and freshen up.
2. Do your homework
Research on the company online. Check out the interviewer's profile on the company's website or LinkedIn. You'll be more confident of what to say if you know more about the company’s background and about the person interviewing you. She or he is likely be make a positive mental note of the effort you've put in.
3. Understand the power of body language
At the risk of sounding like your mum, we’re going to say, don’t slouch! Sitting up straight with a good posture is a sign of self confidence which is what you should definitely be projecting. And try keep the fidgeting in check. It is not only very distracting, but is also a sure sign of nervousness. Be confident and it will show in your body language.
4. Remember your manners
First impressions are everything. Make sure you shake hands with a firm grasp, making eye contact when you greet each person in the room. Wait till they ask you to be seated, and if your interviewer is a lady, wait till she is seated. Listen first, don’t interrupt. Even if you don't land the job, you'll surely make an impression.
5. Be neat and tidy
Sit around in crumpled PJ’s at home while you watch back-to-back movies on the telly over the weekend, but for an interview, everything must be crisply ironed, with no loose threads or buttons missing. Make sure your shoes are not scuffed and your handbag isn’t overflowing with unnecessary items. Make sure your nails are well manicured. If you haven't had time to polish your nails, keep them clear, short and clean.
6. Keep the hair and makeup simple
Been trying to perfect the cat eye look or a big fan of red lips? Save it for the weekend and stick with the basics when you go for an interview. We’d recommend subtle make up, with your hair neatly pulled back into a ponytail or a bun. If your hair is short, make sure it is styled neatly or blow dried for a professional look.
7. Mind your language
Shit, damn, eerrr, hhmmmm, nope, yup
- cool lingo for college kids, not professionals who want to be taken seriously. Watch your words and make a conscious effort to not let abusive language slip. Worst case, if it does, apologise immediately.
8. Be honest
Embellishing your CV is highly unethical and unprofessional so don’t be tempted to add a few degrees or exaggerate your job profile at your previous job. Remember, your prospective employer may well as for reference checks putting you in a soup! And please, really please,
quit with the fake accents! It impresses no one. At some point, sooner than later, the facade will drop and leave you looking more than a bit foolish.
9. Be strictly professional
You may be in serious need of the job or may have financial problems that need urgent attention, but telling an interviewer about your personal problems is very inappropriate and puts them in an awkward position. Avoid at all costs, please!
10. Be discreet about past employers or your current boss
Your ex boss may have been a total jerk but venting to a prospective employer is uncalled for. If you’re asked why you are keen to move to a new job, just keep it brief and say you are looking for the next step in your career or you’ve reached a point where you feel it's time to move on at your current job.
11. Turn off your phone
Fairly obvious, but since this is a major deal breaker for most interviewers, we’re putting this in! Ensure that your mobile is OFF, not on silent, before you go in for your interview. If it vibrates or the light goes off alerting you to a sms, it’s just going to end up distracting you and breaking the pace of the interview.
12. Don’t jump the gun
While they are still discussing scope of work and trying to gauge if you’d be a good fit within the organisation, don't start making enquires about bonuses and days off and employee benefits. It creates the impression of someone looking to slack off from hard work. Wait till they make you an official offer before you start off with the questions prematurely at a first interview.
13. Please listen
And we don't mean pretend to listen. Really listen
. If you’re asked for an opinion, give it, but weigh your words. Telling your interviewer that you can do a job better than it is being done at present is just telling them that you think they
are being inefficient or not as capable as you are. You’ve just dissed someone’s hard work and that’s just going to rub them off the wrong way!
14. Be aware of your personal hygiene
Forgetting to use deodorant or perfume and going in for an interview with garlic on your breath is definitely not recommended! Carry a travel sized perfume in your handbag and dab a tiny bit on your wrists and behind your earlobes before you go in for your interview. If a quick rinse with mouthwash isn’t possible, make sure you’ve got some breath mints handy.
15. Give your CV importance
You CV is your calling card, giving the reader a brief synopsis of your professional life. Spelling errors, a crumpled or overly creased CV are perceived as indicators of carelessness. If you don't care enough to present yourself well, how do you expect them to believe you will represent the company in a flattering light? Make sure your CV is spelling and grammatical error free. It would be best to carry a folder with copies of your CV that haven't been folded and are printed on good quality white paper.
16. Finally, smile!
Let who you are as a person come across. Employers are more likely to hire someone who they see as genuine as someone who appears to be stand-offish and unapproachable. Be yourself. Smile often and genuinely and ace your interview!
Good Luck, Ladies!
* In association with the Fair and Lovely Foundation for the #ToGetHerOnline initiative by Google India