You’re fidgety but trying to remain calm even though it feels like butterflies are doing some fluttery tap dance in the pit of your stomach. Whether it’s nerves or excitement, or a combination of the two, it might feel like you’re going on a first or blind date. But in this case, you’re not about to meet the potential one. Instead, you are waiting to participate in the much-dreaded interview for a new job.
Much the same as you would prep good conversation starters, fork out on a trendy restaurant with delectable cuisine and perhaps Belgian “choccies” for your date to make them fall madly in love with you, you need to pull out all the stops to make your next boss think you’re pretty amazing too. While you may not be able to bribe an entire panel interview with sugary delights – no, don’t get any ideas – you can try to knock their socks off by simply sticking to some of the following pointers.
Be on time – Think of it the same way as if your date kept you waiting and waiting. There you are all dolled up and smelling fresh with that scent you hope will make them swoon over you even more. You keep checking your watch and even ordered a glass of water in the meanwhile. But your date just doesn’t even respond to your WhatsApp’s while you sit there anxiously waiting for them to finally arrive. It wouldn’t be the best impression would it? There’s nothing more that irks someone who has prepared for or taken time out of their busy schedule to interview you, than for you to be late. This is mostly non-negotiable, unless of course, unforeseen circumstances occur such as being involved in a car accident. Life does happen, so if you really have an understandable excuse, then let the company know you’re running late.
Be as well-groomed as possible and dress to impress – They don’t call it “love at first sight” for nothing. It’s been scientifically proven that humans like a good visual. We are not saying you need to make a loan for a Ralph Lauren suit or a Gert-Johan Coetzee ensemble, but at least look like you made an effort to put yourself together. If you sport a beard, ensure its neatly trimmed and that your general appearance and attire looks presentable. Even if the company culture is not formal corporate wear, for an interview its always advisable to at least wear a shirt or dressy outfit. And please, AVOID showing up in flip flops.
Establish a connection and charm them with your knowledge of the industry and their company – Even if you go on a blind date, you probably tried to probe the person’s social media accounts or asked the person hooking you up, detail about your date’s life. Always try to do a little research about the company by checking out their website and especially the About section where they give you a little background as to how they started. It’s always a brownie point, if you manage to incorporate one or two facts which can make your future employer feel like you really did your homework. Also, remain engaged when they tell you more about the company and the role, listen attentively and ask questions. It gives the impression you’re actually interested in the business and contributing to the team as opposed to just what they can do for you.
Maintain your focus on making a good first impression rather than expressing your fears – When going on a first date, you usually try not to scare the person away with too many horror stories and rather just try to impress them enough to at least fall “in-like” with you and perhaps score another date. Similar to an interview, your focus should be on the end goal, which is to proceed to the next round of interviews or get the job offer. So, refrain from expressing too many of your concerns during the initial phase but rather take in all the information and just put your best foot forward. Once you have the offer, then you can make a well-informed decision.
Ask them what they want out of this future relationship/partnership and how you could potentially fill this void – Making the decision to start a new relationship, just like with a new job, is both scary and exciting. The feedback to this question is especially helpful when you’re still contemplating whether to take the offer or not after having received the “thumbs up” from them that they want you for the job. If you think back to what they responded about what your purpose in the company will be and how you will be valued, this might give you the final affirmation that taking the leap in this next career move with them, will be a positive and fruitful one.