It starts before you get there
First impressions count
Stating the obvious? Maybe. But never underestimate the importance of establishing a real connection, and putting across the best version of yourself. Make eye contact, smile, give off positive body language, give a good handshake, and be enthusiastic. Be yourself, but also the best version of yourself. After all, everyone wants to work with people they like, so use this to your advantage. #
Nick Politt, managing director of Diamond Interiors, says you only have mere minutes to show your best side: “It’s not unheard of for hiring decisions to be decided a few minutes into the interview. First impressions are difficult to change; people form opinions and stick to them. So you always need to put your best foot forward. Personally, I like to see a smile, a firm handshake, and a little bit of chat before the more formal part begins, rather than a silent walk to the boardroom. Make that connection and impression straight away, and make it the very best you can.”
Prep for small talk
Small talk always comes first and, love it or hate it, there’s really no way around it. Getting your small talk right can make or break the interview. It’s how we build rapport and affinity and can be the first clue for your potential employers of whether you have the right “chemistry”.
Part of small talk is undoubtedly being able to think on your feet and improvise, but you can still do a little prep work beforehand to keep the conversation flowing smoothly. The key is to have a few mutual topics up your sleeve, and here are some to keep in mind:
- Family. If you spot a picture of the interviewer’s family on their desk, ask about them, and perhaps be ready to respond with an anecdote of your own.
- Sports. If there are signs your interviewer is a sports fan, have some questions at the ready.
- Business. Has the company been in the news recently? Good news only here, of course.
- Clothes or personal style (for the right reasons)
- An unusual fact about you (again, within reason)
- An outside interest
- A past job (maybe you scooped ice cream for the Spice Girls in high school)
Be on message: What can you offer?
“Do you have any questions for us?”
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- What do you like about working for this company?
- How do you see the company evolving in the next five years?
- What does the ideal candidate for this role look like?
- Is this a new position? If not, why did the person before me leave this role?