The job market in the UK is tough, putting more and more pressure on people when they finally get an interview for that potential dream job. Instead of worrying yourself to death before you arrive, take the time to get prepared and improve your chances by researching some tips and tricks to get ahead. After all, an advantage over your competition is always a good thing.

First impressions

It’s a common phrase thrown around for many, many years and for all sorts of occasions, but it is particularly important when it comes to job interviews. We are, of course, talking about the classic ‘first impressions count’ saying.

Research has shown recently that this saying may have more weight than you may think. Becoming a pro at making a great first impression is just one of the ways to get your interview off on the right foot, as opinions formed in those first few moments are often impossible to change.

Author and persuasion expert Robert Cialdini has previously said that a sneaky yet effective way of framing the first section of an interview is through asking them why they thought you might be good for the role. He explains that subconsciously people feel the need to not contradict themselves after they have made positive statements about you. Told you it was sneaky.

Be like them

According to Time magazine, “being yourself” is not always as easy as it seems. Rather more importantly, research has shown that the key to doing well in an interview is in fact to be like the interviewer. Now, we don’t mean copy their every move. Just pay attention to their attitudes. Are they blunt and aggressive? Or are they calm and talkative?

This allows you to tailor your answers to appeal to them. Don’t waffle on if they’re the type of person that appreciates a to-the-point response.

Confidence is key

A study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that people who went into an interview situation primed with feelings of power performed far better than those who appeared less powerful or confident.

Not everyone feels comfortable in an interview situation, but there are some tricks you can adopt to help improve your confidence. Studies from the Harvard Business School showed that something as simple as taking a couple of minutes in the toilet or the lift doing some power poses can help to boost your confidence. Just make sure no one spots you striking your best pose.

Ask the right questions

The one moment in every job interview that most people dread is when the interviewer utters those five fateful words – “Do you have any questions?”

Unfortunately for those people this is a seriously important bit of the interview. Asking questions shows that you’re interested, and shows that you want to know more. Go prepared with a few questions in mind so you don’t panic when you’re put on the spot.

Some questions that work well according to research are:

    1. How would you describe the culture of the company?
    2. What are the day-to-day responsibilities of the role?
    3. How do I compare with the ideal candidate, or how do I compare against other applicants?
    4. Are there opportunities for growth?

 

We know interviews can be stressful, but it’s important not to overthink them. Try to be confident and remember that if you’ve been invited for an interview the company already likes the look of your CV and thinks your skills would be a great fit.

SGM’s Client Services Director Anthony Klokkou says that in an interview situation he appreciates a candidate that is confident enough to be themselves, saying:

“If you have to put on a persona to be successful when interviewing then you are likely looking in the wrong place for a role! Of course, I don’t mean come to an interview in your PJ’s, but let your personality come through whilst still being professional and taking the interview seriously. The key question I ask myself when interviewing is:

“Is this personality a good fit for our business?”

If I don’t see the true personality then the process is likely to fail later down the line.”