So you’ve been offered the job interview, you’ve done your research on the company, the industry and the interviewers and you’re feeling ready to bash the interview out. Now you just need to think about how you’re going to showcase why you are the best candidate for the job.
Confidence is key, so be sure that you’re feeling well-prepared. If you haven’t already worked through our Ultimate Interview Guide to help you prepare for the interview then we recommend starting there.
1. THINK OF THE INTERVIEW IN 3 CONTEXTS
Who are you now? A problem solver, a builder of teams, a catalyst for change (whatever the job requires) – not simply a former military officer, or whatever your Service background may be. The interviewer has to be able to picture how you will relate to the role, so make it easy; feed their imagination – use verbs that reflect your abilities to paint that picture (think; look; listen; project; counsel; forecast).
Employers need to understand why they should employ you, and they may well ask that question directly. Don’t hark back to the past in convincing them – a very common error. Look ahead; what constitutes success in the role?
Of course your past experience is relevant – but only in the context of illustrating the traits you need to convince employers you have what it takes.
2. YOUR DEMEANOUR IS IMPORTANT
Shake hands firmly, wait until you are offered a chair before sitting, sit upright and be alert and interested throughout. It may sound condescending but while basic good manners cannot get you the job, lack of them can certainly lose you it.
3. TONE AND FORMALITY
Follow the interviewer’s lead in terms of tone for the interview and degree of formality.
4. ENTHUSIASM IS KEY
You MUST show real enthusiasm for the role – overplay it a bit if need be. While you may regard the opportunity as a ‘second string’ compared to something else you are tracking, you must never reflect this to the interviewer. In short, the time to consider whether you really want a job is when you have been offered it, and not before. Remember: you can only ever make one first impression.
5. BUILD EMPATHY
Be a good listener (e.g. ‘so what you are saying is…’) as well as a good talker: it builds empathy.
6. AVOID STEREOTYPES
Gestures, language, jargon and jokes which are widely understood in the military can easily be misconstrued, and may also reinforce stereotyped impressions – avoid them.
7. BE PROACTIVE
If interviewed by senior management, be prepared to get on the front foot and get them talking – don’t be purely reactive, show that you can relate at that level and have the confidence to do so.
8. KEEP YOUR COOL
Don’t be thrown if an answer is challenged - this may well be deliberate. Your reaction is being gauged. Be prepared to disagree while making your argument politely and clearly.
9. BE MEMORABLE
Though not because you were dressed ridiculously! A firm expression of interest in the role at the end of the interview is one way.
10. ENGAGE WITH THE PANEL
If it’s a panel interview, be certain to make eye contact with every member of the panel, even if some of them say little. Rule of thumb: 60% of the time focused on the questioner, spread the other 40% around the remainder of the panel. Be alert to their posture and be prepared to adjust your line of answering or to redirect your attention if necessary. And smile…
11. AND FINALLY...
Thank the interviewer(s) for their time at the end of the interview.