Sales is a competitive field, so it's important to put your best foot forward in your interview. To help you prepare, here are some tips on how to ace your next sales interview, including sample answers to common questions:1. Research the company and the role.The more you know about the company and the role you're interviewing for, the better prepared you'll be to answer any questions. Be sure to read the job description carefully and research the company's website, social media pages, recent news articles, and know the names of key people such as the CEO and Sales Director.2.Practice your answers to common sales interview questions.There are a number of common sales interview questions that you can expect to be asked, such as:Tell me about a time when you successfully closed a deal.How do you handle objections from customers?What is your sales process?What are your sales goals for the next year?Why do you want this job?Take some time to practice your answers to these questions in advance. This will help you to deliver clear and concise responses during your interview. Remember that detail is king. Make sure to have examples prepared to back up your points.3. Be prepared to talk about your sales experience and skills.In your interview, be sure to highlight your sales experience and skills. This could include your track record of success in closing deals, your ability to build relationships with customers, and your knowledge of the sales process. If you have any relevant sales awards or accolades, be sure to mention them as well. 4. Have your numbers readyHave your sales figures to hand to show billings in similar positions, as well as any notable deals or KPIs you successfully worked to.5. Be enthusiastic and positive.Sales is a people-oriented business, so it's important to project a positive and enthusiastic attitude during your interview. Show the interviewer that you're excited about the opportunity and that you're confident in your ability to succeed in the role.6. Ask questions.At the end of your interview, be sure to ask the interviewer some questions about the company and the role. This shows that you're interested in the position and that you've been paying attention during the interview. Here are some sample answers to common sales interview questions:1. Tell me about a time when you successfully closed a deal."I was recently working on a deal with a new client (insert name) that I had identified and approached. It took a number of attempts to get a hold of the right decision maker but eventually I got speaking to the right person (insert name). They were hesitant to buy at first as they weren’t sure if they needed the offering we had, but I was able to build rapport with them and understand their needs and challenges in their business. I then tailored my sales pitch to their specific requirements and was able to close the deal by presenting a solution to an issue they had."2. How do you handle objections from customers?"When I encounter a customer objection, I first try to understand their concerns. I then address their objections directly and provide them with information that will help them to make an informed decision. I also try to find common ground with the customer and build a relationship with them."3. What is your sales process?"My sales process typically consists of the following steps:Prospecting: I identify potential customers and reach out to them.Qualification: I determine whether the customer is a good fit for my product or service.Needs assessment: I learn more about the customer's needs and challenges.Solution presentation: I present the customer with a solution that meets their needs.Handling objections: I address any concerns that the customer may have.Closing the deal: I ask the customer to purchase my product or service."4. What are your sales goals for the next year?"My sales goals for the next year are to increase my sales by 15% and to close 10 new deals. I believe that these goals are achievable and that I have the skills and experience necessary to achieve them."5. Why do you want this job?"I want this job because I am passionate about sales, and I believe that I have the skills and experience necessary to be successful in this role. I am also excited about the opportunity to work for a company that is growing rapidly and that has a strong reputation in the industry."By following these tips and practicing your answers to common sales interview questions, you can increase your chances of acing your interview and landing your dream sales job.
As companies work hard to stay competitive and provide exceptional experiences to their clients, the need for skilled staff in business support and customer service keeps growing. In this article, we'll look at the important skills businesses are looking for.1. Great CommunicationWhether you're talking or writing, it's vital to be clear. Nowadays, good communication also means being good with digital tools. Employers want people who can talk professionally with colleagues, clients, and customers, making sure everyone gets the right information.Top Tip for interviews: Prepare examples that highlight your proficiency in clear and effective communication. Share instances where you successfully conveyed complex information to non-technical stakeholders. 2. Problem Solving AcumenIn the world of business, problems come up all the time. The ability to think on your feet and adapt to unforeseen circumstances showcases your commitment to delivering results.Top Tip for Interviews: Prepare specific anecdotes showcasing your problem-solving skills. Describe situations where you identified a challenge, analysed options, and implemented a successful solution. 3. Technological ProficiencyFamiliarity with various software, tools, and platforms can significantly enhance your employability. Things like customer relationship systems, project management tools, and data analysis software are just a few examples of technologies that are becoming increasingly integral to business operations. Embracing technology shows you're ready to work in a modern business.Top Tip for your C.V: List the software, applications, and tools you are proficient in on your C.V. Make sure to also include any certifications or trainings related to these technologies on your LinkedIn profile. 4. Adaptability and FlexibilityThe Irish business landscape is always changing, which is why being flexible is so important. Companies want people who can handle change, learn fast, and switch things up when they need to. Being open to new challenges and being willing to upskill can set you apart in a competitive job market.Top tip for your C.V.: On your CV, talk about times when you changed and helped your team or company grow. For interviews, give examples of when you tried new things or took on jobs that weren't easy for you. Show your ability to thrive in dynamic environments. 5. Speaking Other LanguagesIreland’s strategic position in the European Union has led to an influx of international businesses and customers. If you know languages like Spanish, French, or German, this can be a significant advantage. It means you can talk to more people and understand more clients Multilingualism showcases your cultural awareness and ability to engage with a diverse audience.Top Tip for your C.V: Include a section that highlights your language proficiencies and any experiences where you effectively used them in a professional setting. 6. Being Kind and Focused on CustomersFor jobs where you help customers, being kind is important. If you know what customers want and care about their problems, they'll like your company more. Companies value candidates who prioritize customer-centricity, as it directly impacts customer satisfaction and long-term success.Top Tip for Interviews: Share stories of how your empathy positively influenced customer interactions, leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and/or conflict resolution.7. Time Management and OrganisationKnowing how to use your time well and organise things can make you get more done. From arranging meetings to handling administrative responsibilities, these skills demonstrate your capability to juggle multiple priorities and meet deadlines consistently.Top Tip for interviews: Provide examples of how your strong time management skills helped you meet tight deadlines or manage multiple projects simultaneously. As the business world in Ireland keeps changing, the demand for proficient business support and customer service professionals remains steady. Cultivating these in-demand skills not only increases your employability but also positions you as an asset to your employer. Whether you're already experienced or just starting out, getting good at these skills can help you find great jobs and help Irish businesses grow, even when they're competing with companies from all around the world. At Sigmar, we're committed to connecting top talent with businesses seeking excellence in business support and customer service. Get in touch to explore how we can help you thrive in these exciting fields. Email your cv to firstname.lastname@example.org or check out current jobs here
In today’s competitive job market, standing out from the pack is essential when it comes to securing your dream job. While having a strong resume and relevant experience is crucial, it is equally just as important to excel in the interview process. As one of the leading recruitment agencies in Ireland, we understand the importance of interview skills and how they can make or break your chances of landing your dream job. Here we will highlight five essential interview skills that will help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of job success.1. ResearchOne of the most crucial interview skills is thorough preparation. Research the company you’re applying to, their values, goals and recent awards or achievements. A quick online search will help you with this. Browse their website for an ‘about us’ page which often provides valuable insights. Familiarize yourself with the job you’re applying to and identify key skills and qualifications they are seeking. Prepare thoughtful answers to common interview questions and practice them to gain confidence. Additionally, anticipate any potential questions which are related to your previous experiences and have specific examples ready to showcase your skills and achievements.2. Non-verbal communicationNon-verbal cues can greatly impact the impression you make during an interview. Pay attention to your body language, maintain good eye contact, sit up straight and project confidence. A firm handshake, smiling and portraying a positive demeanour will go a long way in establishing a good rapport with the interviewer. Your non-verbal communication should convey your interest in the role and your ability to work well with others.Aside from being mindful of your own body language, take notice of the interviewers’ non-verbal cues also. These subtle signals can reveal crucial insights, such as priorities for the role and the essential skills they seek. Observe their active listening, facial expressions, and body language to gather valuable information beyond verbal communication.3. Highlighting Transferable SkillsIn today’s dynamic job market, employers value transferable skills - qualities that can be applied to various roles and industries. During the interview, focus on highlighting your transferable skills that align with the job requirements. Even if you lack direct job experience, demonstrate how your abilities, such as problem solving, adaptability, leadership, or teamwork, can be valuable assets to the organization. Showcasing these skills will set you apart as a candidate who can quickly contribute to the team’s success. 4. Showcasing Your AccomplishmentsA common mistake candidates make is focusing solely on their responsibilities rather than their achievements. Employers want to know how you’ve made a positive impact in your previous organisations. Prepare specific examples of projects you’ve successfully completed; challenges you’ve overcome or any initiative’s that you’ve led. Quantify your achievements where possible, such as mentioning cost savings or percentage improvements. Demonstrating your track record of success will make you a memorable candidate.5. ConfidenceA key skill that will bring together all your other interview abilities is speaking confidently. It’s important to instil confidence in the hiring manager by the way you communicate.Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and the pressure can make it difficult to appear confident. Remember that your objective is to sound calm yet curious during an interview. Speaking at a moderate pace helps convey calmness, and showcasing your enthusiasm and curiosity through research and follow-up questions can make a positive impression. If nervousness causes you to speak too quickly, practice speaking slower than usual to achieve a balanced pace on the day of the interview. Ultimately, practice is the key to improving this skill. Schedule a mock interview with your recruiter or alternatively ask a friend or family member to pose sample questions. Dedicate yourself to practicing as much as possible and in no time it will come naturally.Mastering interview skills are essential for standing out from the competition and securing your dream job. By focusing on thorough research and preparation, highlighting your transferable skills, highlighting your accomplishments, and remaining confident, you can make a lasting impression on hiring managers. Good luck!
The one question I am always asked when preparing a candidate for an interview is “how do I answer the weakness question?” The worst reaction you can have to this question is to say I don’t have a weakness. Everyone has a weakness and the reason the interviewer is asking this question is to see how you act outside your comfort zone. People often make the common mistake of trying to turn a negative into a positive. An example of this would be I’m a perfectionist or I work too hard. These answers are boring and show the interviewer you have put very little thought into his/her question. Also you are not actually answering the question you’re just trying to put a clever spin on it. Another mistake candidates make is being too honest. Never mention a weakness that you have if it is going to stop you from getting the job. So don’t answer “I’m lazy” or that “I’m always late” as this is not what your potential new employer wants to hear. The trick to answering this is in the same way you would answer any interview question and that’s by preparing your answer in advance. It can be very difficult to talk about your flaws in a stressful situation like an interview so make sure you spend time preparing your answer. These are a few ways to best answer the weakness question: 1. Pick a weakness that is acceptable for the jobDon’t pick a skill or requirement that is on the job spec that you don’t have and say it is your main weakness. This will only put doubt into the interviewers head. 2. Pick a weakness that you can developFor this type of answer you might think of an example where you had a weakness but developed it over the course of your time in prior employment. 3. Describe your weakness in a concise wayDon’t go into loads of detail on this question. They are asking you your weakness so be brief and don’t come across as negative. A common answer that candidates often use when asked the weakness question is on their delegation skills. Here you can mention a time when you used to have the mentality that only you could do the job but over time you realised that it was actually slowing the work down and by delegating to other staff members the job was done quicker. This answer is perfect to give but it depends on what job you are going for. If you are going for a managerial role where managing and delegating work will be part of your job description then don’t use delegating as your weakness. Every question in an interview is an opportunity for you to sell yourself, so it is important you never miss a genuine opportunity and the weakness question is no different. Treat it like you would any interview questions that you find hard and prepare your answer.
Face to face interviews can be scary, but with the added pressure of presenting during an interview anyone can become a nervous wreck. Here are our tips to help you ace your interview presentation.Structure Your PresentationA strong structure is the most important thing to get right. The aim is to keep the interviewer’s attention through presenting engaging and relevant content. Plan out what you want to say through brainstorming. Draw a map showing how each point links to the next. Make sure the points you are making fit within the companies aim and objectives, thus showing the research you have done. The key thing is not to waffle. A basic outline for any presentation should have:Introduction: Give a brief overview of the subject of the presentation and what you wish to coverElaborate: Discuss the subject in as much detail as time will allow using as little slides as possibleConclusion: Sum up what you have spoken about adding in your thoughts where necessaryN.B. A useful slide to include would be a “Why Me?” slide. At the end of the day you want them to hire you for the job so this should be one point they take home.Know Your AudienceResearch the interviewers and try to understand their roles and interests. Tailor your presentation to resonate with their specific needs and expectations. This shows your understanding of the company and demonstrates your ability to customize your approach. Be VisualUse your slides to keep the panel engaged as reading from slides will send anyone into a daydream. Use bullet points and images as much as possible to keep your audience attentive. Other things to include:Provide hand-outs for them to read and to take away (but give them out at the end!)Have inviting body language (do not cross your arms or put your hands in your pockets)Do not be afraid to use gestures (it will draw their attention back to you)Use Examples and StoriesIllustrate your points with relevant examples or anecdotes. Sharing real-life scenarios helps to make your presentation more relatable and memorable. Practice Makes PerfectPreparation is a vital part of any interview and this will help overcome nerves. You should be given enough time to prepare your presentation in advance. Use this time wisely and practice until you know everything off by heart. Additional things to perfect include tone of voice and gestures. Worried you might trip over your words? Ask a friend to help you practise your presentation until you’re completely confident. The key is to talk naturally as this will show the panel that you understand your area and that you are the best person for the job. Pronounce Every Word ClearlyWhen you are nervous there is a temptation to speak fast to quicken the whole process; you must resist this. Add commas to your notes to signal where to take breaths and regularly pause to collect your thoughts. Speaking clearly will ensure that the panel understand your points and won’t be interrupting the presentation to ask questions. Eye ContactPresentations can be a lot harder than face to face interviews as the interviewee is the main talker. One sure way to ensure that people stay engaged is to maintain eye contact using friendly eyes. It is important to shift eye contact to everyone on the panel to keep everyone engaged and listening.Show Enthusiasm and ConfidenceDemonstrate your passion and genuine interest in the position and the company. Be confident in your delivery and showcase your enthusiasm throughout the presentation.There Will Be QuestionsDoing a presentation doesn’t mean that you will not be asked more questions. It is still an interview and the interviewer/s will still have questions to ask. They will more than likely ask about you and your presentation so be prepared. For further interview advice and/or to discuss career opportunities call 01-4744624 or send a confidential email to Alan at email@example.com
Before entering into an interview situation, we HIGHLY advise that you research your prospective employer as thoroughly as possible. Not only will this increase the chances of your interview being successful, it can also help you decide if the business is a good cultural fit for you, and also offer peace of mind that the company has good intentions. Provide Company Authenticity Allow me to briefly divulge to you a personal experience I’ve had. During my years of studying I was signing up to agencies in the hope of getting some money to help with living expenses. I was contacted by an agency that said a company was looking for assistants to help out in their studio. I went along to the interview and after the usual questions and formalities, I was offered the job on the spot! Amazing right? Well, shortly after I verbally accepted the position, I was informed that before they would send a contract over, I was required to send £500 to the company accounts team to cover any potential ‘damages and expenses’ to equipment inside the studio. Naturally, this was some cause for concern, and long story short, after a quick flick through their online social presence, I found that most of their followers were paid for/bots and the company address listed on their website was actually a room above a laundrette 50 miles from where it should be! It is the unfortunate truth that there are some undesirables who will pray on the good intentions of jobseekers by offering opportunities in industries that are traditionally challenging to enter. Prior research into a company that has contacted you will provide peace of mind that the company exercises lawful practices and that their business is authentic and genuine. In the case of my own experience, it's certainly a rare occurrence, but unfortunately, not an impossibility. Is The Company Right For You? The average person will work for around 37.5 hrs pw, some more and some less. This is a long time to be spent at the workplace, so in order to avoid any negative feelings or resentment towards work developing, you must make sure that the company’s culture aligns with your own. Ask yourself the following questions, am I able to complete the level of work required, can I work within company deadlines, am I able to handle the demands of my role, can I adhere to the company's work location i.e. work remotely, in office or hybrid? All these things will help you determine whether you can meet the demands of the role and perform consistently. Demonstrates an Interest in the Company As an employee of a company, you will be expected to act in a way that reflects the company’s best interests and core values. Employers will be looking for candidates in interviews that they feel best resonate with their core company ethics and philosophy. Demonstrating knowledge of the company’s history and expansion and recognising its achievements and accolades is sure to impress your potential employers. It conveys your own passion for the brand and desire to be a part of a company’s growth. This will help show your employer that you are committed to the future of the company and intend to work within the business for a long time. It helps you prepare meaningful questions Now you may have seen a post on our knowledge centre about questions you should ask your interviewer. These are all tried and tested ways to go the extra mile in an interview by seeking additional insight about your employer and demonstrating an interest in the company ethos. However, if you truly want to go above and beyond to impress your interviewer, mould your questions in such fashion that they directly relate to the business. Example: I recognise the company’s overall mission is X. But can you share some of the company's short and long-term goals during the next 3 years. What part would I play in helping the business to achieve these targets? Formulating your questions about matters directly concerning the company shows your employers you are eager to become an asset to the business. This will also provide an opportunity to match the business goals with your own! It can help you learn more about the industry If you’ve decided that you need a change in your career path and want to pursue a role in a different industry, research into a company can help provide insight into what the work actually entails and how the industry and company itself operates. Learning the ins and outs, the rough and the smooth of the job you’re looking to apply for will help you make the right decision for both your career and wellbeing. If a company advertises a fast-paced quick response attitude, will you be able to keep up? Similarly, if the role operates within both high-pressure and relaxed periods of work, are you ok with an irregular balance of fast and slow-paced environments? Researching the company and role you wish to pursue will help answer some of these questions that should always be considered when trying something new. In Conclusion As you can see, there are many benefits to researching your employer. Prospective employers are always going to be looking for candidates that will go the extra mile, so this is good practice into the mindset of always going one step further to impress and prove why you are an important asset to any team.
"So, do you have any further questions you’d like to ask us?" Yes. Yes, you do! This part of the interview is a very clever way employers can gauge your interest in their company, and briefly switches the ‘Question and Answer’ roles associated with the interviewer and candidate. Of course, when presented with this question, your initial answer would be no. I mean, you’ve just spoken about the role and the job for the last 45 minutes, no doubt outlining your various experiences, skillset, responsibilities, salary expectations and company history. So, all bases should have been covered right? INCORRECT! Employers aren’t looking to hire somebody that simply performs the bare minimum of work and walks away with the pay, they want to see your passion for their business, your recognition of its achievements, and your desire to help the company grow. Here are some questions to ask at the end of the interview that will provide further insight into the culture of the company, whilst conveying further interest in the role to your employer. What Are The Plans For The Business In The Next 3 Years? This is a great question that shows not only your commitment to the company but also the development of the business. In an ever-changing, ever-evolving market, asking this question to your employer shows that you demonstrate a knowledge and an awareness that a business’ longevity rests on its ability to move with the times, never settle in one place and constantly expand and grow within the field. This can also provide a heads up on any major upcoming projects and will give you a general idea about job security. Can You Describe The Working Culture Of The Organisation? Asking this question is a good way to assess the working environment of the company and whether you’ll fit in. You will learn how the company prioritises employee happiness and wellbeing, the work-life balance, and any benefits rewarded to employees on behalf of the company. If I Were To Be Successful, What Advice Or Resources Would You Recommend That Would Help Me Prepare For This Role Further Be careful how you word this question, as you don’t want to come across as arrogant and that the interview is a foregone conclusion. However, this is a great question to ask for both yourself and your interviewer, as it will show them that you are keen to perform in the role to the best of your ability. It also provides you with resources to help you prepare for employment so the first few weeks of work are less daunting, and you can start your new job feeling prepared. Will There Be Opportunity To Progress Further Down The Line? This question shows your employer that you have ambition, and you are conscious of your further career goals. Knowledge about opportunities to progress within the company will provide scope and allow you to look forward to the future. You don’t want to realise too late that there is little to no scope of progression into new roles and responsibilities, or that the only way to ascend the company ladder is to wait for somebody higher up to leave. Can You Describe A Typical Day or Week In The Job? Asking this question will provide an opening to address any queries or concerns you have found while reading the job description. Maybe a certain task wasn’t presented clearly, or you want to find more specifics when the job description alludes to a ‘variety of responsibilities.’ You’re going to want to know exactly what will be expected of you on a day-to-day basis, so you are prepared for what each week of work entails. Some interviewers will respond to this question by saying ‘Every day is different.’ In this instance, your best bet is to politely push for an answer by providing a period of time to draw experience from. Can you tell me more about what the last month looked like for the person in the job currently? What took up most of their time? In Conclusion It is impossible to cram every single piece of information into a job interview, so there will always be a question you can ask your employer at the interview's conclusion. We will follow up this blog post with some more questions soon, however, those aforementioned are a great way to learn more about the company you’ll be working for, what is expected of you, and the plans to grow the business, whilst also conveying your own excitement to be a part of that journey!
Whether you have been working in the same company for several years, or if you’ve been working within a wide array of industries in a variety of roles, at some point, we have all experienced the ‘Job Interview.’ We each have our own experiences with job interviews, some good, and some, unfortunately, less so. Interviews can be a very daunting concept, with the mounting pressure that the next step of your professional career hangs on the balance of your performance within the next 30–60 minutes. However, like many challenges in life, this process can be made significantly less stressful and much more successful with the right amount of preparation. Therefore, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular questions that an employer will ask you during an interview, and crucially, what the employer is hoping to learn about you from the answer you give. Familiarise yourself with how you should approach each question and the traps you could fall into. Think of ways you can apply the given examples to your own experience and you’re sure to leave your next interview feeling full of confidence. Tell me a little bit about yourself and what has led you to applying for this role? What may on the surface seem a relatively innocuous question, it is actually one of, if not the most important question of the interview. This is most likely the first time you and your potential employer will be sat face to face, and they are going to want to see how you hold yourself, convey information and how you act when meeting new people. Answers given may also provide openings to further conversation, though try not to waffle. My advice would be to give a brief overview of your education and relevant experience, the moment, or ‘thing’ that attracted you to this particular industry and a ‘golden skill’ that has allowed you to become successful in your working life. Wrap this answer up with your career goal and its close link to the role that you are being interviewed for and you will have provided a very strong introduction to your interviewers. Can you describe your Strengths and Weaknesses? This question can prove to be somewhat of a ‘gotcha’ moment in the interview if you are not prepared, as the interviewer will not only be interested in your direct response to this question, but the manner in which you address it: Strengths The key thing to keep in mind when answering this question is to not come across as boastful or arrogant. Of course, you are going to want to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job, however there is a fine line between providing relevant skills vs listing your long and attributed list of accolades. Employers will be looking for skills relevant to the role, so study the job description and focus on three key qualities you possess that can be directly applied to the role. Make sure to give relevant examples too! Weaknesses Despite what the word weakness implies, you’re going to want to avoid being too negative when providing this answer. The key when answering this question, is to let the employer know that you have recognised an area of personal weakness, and that you are taking steps to improve upon this so that it will no longer hinder your performance at work. It is important to give examples of the steps you have taken to improve, show your current progress, and emphasize that your progress has been acknowledged. Example – I would say my greatest weakness, is the fact that I sometimes find it quite hard asking other people for help. I tend to try and figure things out for myself, instead of asking the people in my team for guidance, which would be a faster way of working. Having said that, I am seeking to improve on this, and have since become more mindful of situations where this may occur in the future. Why do you want to work for us? This is a great opportunity to convey your passion and interest in not just the role, but the company as a whole. Preparation for this question is key, as knowledge of a company’s history, practices and its various accolades that have incentivised you to apply for this position, shows an employer that you acknowledge the companies’ key practices, ethics and progression within the industry. Discuss how this particular role is best suited to your own particular set of skills, and that your values and goals are aligned with those of your employer. What are your salary expectations? This question is almost certain to come up at some point, and if you aren’t prepared, it can cause a moment of panic in an interview. You don’t want to price yourself out of the job by asking for a salary that is too high, neither do you want to undervalue yourself and end up getting paid a lesser amount than what you could, or should, be working for. In order to avoid an uneasy atmosphere, prepare your response in advance. Research similar roles within the field and look out for consistencies in pay. The job you’re applying for may even have a listed salary attached to the description. We here at Sigmar prepare a yearly salary guide that covers many different roles in a wide range of industries. Take a look at this year’s guide, it will give you a good starting point when considering the salary being offered to you. This link will take you to our Sigmar Salary Guide: https://www.sigmarrecruitment.com/blog/2022/02/salary-guide-2022 How would you deal with potential conflict in the workplace? This question is an open door to an employer for assessing your level of emotional intelligence. By demonstrating your capacity for empathy, and your understanding of different personality types, you will show that you are highly emotionally intelligent, and understanding that ‘teamwork makes the dream work.’ However, you will want to be mindful of not appearing overly negative when answering this question. Generally, negativity should be avoided during an interview, however, like our assessment of the question regarding personal weakness, there are ways to address negative issues in a constructive way. Key points in the right direction are to lead with empathy and compassion, focus on your own subjective experience without pointing out flaws in others, and replace ‘but’ with ‘and,’ which deescalates a conversation from an argument to a discussion. In Conclusion Of course, we have only covered a select few questions in this post, and no doubt you will have come across one or two more ‘repeat questions’ in different interviews. We will be exploring further interview questions in later posts, however, these 5 questions are certainly amongst the more popular questions interviewers will pose to you, so preparing you’re answers to these will certainly increase your chances of a successful interview.
It only takes somebody between 6–30 seconds to form an opinion of someone they’ve met for the first time, and job interviews are no exception. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘actions speak louder than words’ and though it has become somewhat of a cliché, utilising this information can determine your success in an interview. So, you’ve researched your employer, practiced your responses to typical questions, arrived on time and appear neat and well groomed. Here is how to make the best first impression, along with some dos and don’ts to be mindful of during the interview: The First 30 Seconds Enter The Room With Confidence This will likely be the first time the interviewer sees you (unless they have greeted you upon entering the building), so make sure you appear as professional as possible. Don’t slowly open the door, nervously poke your head around and tippy toe over to your seat with your eyes locked to the floor. Stand up straight, open the door and walk in with calm confidence and good posture. Offer an initial greeting as you enter, such as a ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Hello there it’s nice to meet you,’ and rather than turn your back to the people in the room as you close the door, use your less dominant hand to close the door behind you whilst maintaining eye contact. Walk over confidentially to shake your interviewer’s hand or take your seat if you are prompted to do so. The Handshake Mastering the perfect professional handshake is a key skill you will utilise at many points in your professional career, though its important to neither be too forceful or too submissive. An overly aggressive handshake can come across as trying to hard, yet a weak handshake conveys a lack of confidence. Keep your handshake firm, but don’t crush their fingers, maintain eye contact and smile. Eventually you will develop the muscle memory needed when applying the correct amount of assertiveness for a handshake, but in the meantime, it never hurts to practice with a friend or relative. As You Sit Down Under no circumstances should you simply slump into your seat like a sack of potatoes. This shows a general ‘I’d rather be anywhere but here’ attitude, which of course will negatively impact your interviewer’s perception of you. As you sit down, keep your back straight and tuck your chair in if you are sitting at a table. During the interview Posture Maintain good posture but stay relaxed and try not to fidget. Don’t appear too rigid or stiff, as this shows you’re ‘on edge’ or trying too hard to look a certain way. When you’re sat up straight, imagine there’s a circle around your head, and try to keep your head inside this circle. If you lean back too far into your seat, you appear disinterested or too relaxed, but if you lean too far forward, it can come across as somewhat intense, or that you are trying too hard to seem engaged in what the interviewer is saying. It is OK to lean forward slightly ever so often, as it shows that you are listening, but don’t overdo it. Appear Open DO NOT CROSS YOUR ARMS! If there is any bigger indication that somebody is nervous, reserved, or holding back, I have yet to discover it. It is best to keep the hands on your lap or position your arms either at your sides or on the table. Avoid twiddling your thumbs or touching your hair or face. All of these are your body’s unconscious efforts to shy away from a situation. Remember to show confidence and that you are at ease with the situation. It’s fine to gesticulate when giving answers, but don’t go overboard. Smile A job interview can make anyone nervous, and recruiters seldom employ miserable people. The simple fix is to just smile. A smile can lower the stress levels and make you feel more relaxed. You will look comfortable, personable and ultimately, more likeable. The Eyes We have addressed the importance of maintaining eye contact without staring into your employer’s soul, however, when not maintaining eye contact, your eyes can give away more than you realise. Typically, when a person looks to their right while formulating a response, they are creating an artificial construct i.e., creating something that they haven’t seen or heard before. On the flipside, if they look to the left, they are recalling information about something they’ve seen or heard. A lot of these are unconscious movements that the body makes in a reaction to formulating a response and can be difficult to control, namely casting eyes to either relevant sides of the brain that deal with memory or imagination. However, the best way to avoid this happening is to simply prepare your responses to common interview questions in advance, so as not to be tripped up by a question you weren’t expecting. At the End of the Interview Don't Appear Rushed Your behaviour here will confirm your interviewer’s final perception of you, so quickly scrambling out of your seat, gathering your things and bolting out of the door is a sure fire way to leave a bad lasting impression. It makes you look like you just can’t wait to get out of there and breathe again. Instead, try to leave as confidently as you entered. Offer a final handshake and thank your interviewer for their time and express gratitude for the opportunity. If everybody is leaving the room together, match their pace and offer to hold the door if they aren’t already holding it open for you. Offer a final goodbye as you turn to exit the building. It’s worth bearing in mind that you may be watched as you walk out of the building, so try not to break composure and stride just yet! In Conclusion Ok so we’ve covered A LOT here, and you may finish this article with even more things to worry about than before. However, if you take one thing away from this, it’s that the simple way to avoid giving a negative impression to your interviewer is to remain calm, composed and confident. Should you worry that things are going astray, just remind yourself that your employer has chosen to interview you, so they are already impressed and think you are a good fit for the role. Remember to be open and polite, and you’re sure to walk away with a smile on your face.