Interviews are all about first impressions. You only have a short amount of time to convince an employer that you are the best candidate for the job. Here are 10 tips for acing your interview.

  1. Make Eye contact

Confidence is key, and once of the main ways to project this is through eye contact. Looking someone straight in the eye makes you appear trust-worthy, relatable and self-assured.

Obviously, you need to get the right balance. Prolonged eye contact could make you appear arrogant, and even aggressive, so practise and improve your eye contact skills before your interview.

  1. Greet with a Firm Handshake

One of the first things you’ll do upon meeting your interviewer is shake their hand, so that will be key in forming their first impressions of you.

A limp handshake makes you appear nervous and timid, whereas gripping with too much strength could cause pain, so it is important to get your handshake right. Firm, polite and confident is what you should be aiming for.

  1. Smile!

Don’t forget to smile! Even if they seem severe and straight-faced, smiling breaks the ice, and shows that you are warm and approachable, which is very important when they are testing for how well you will fit in with the rest of the team.

  1. Dress Appropriately

Not all work places will expect you to turn up in a formal suit, but it is always better to err on the side of smartness. If possible, look the employers up beforehand, and see if there are any images online showing what style of clothing they are wearing.

Generally, arts industries would prefer you to dress a little more casually, to show off your creative side, whereas finance and business sectors will expect formal attire.

  1. Ask for Water

Always accept a drink when you are offered it. Not only does it put your interviewer at ease, it gives you a chance to quickly gather your thoughts.

Even if you don’t feel thirsty straightaway, the stress of an interview can quickly turn your mouth dry, so it is best to have some water on hand just in case!

  1. Do Your Research

Chances are the company will be interviewing a lot of candidates, all with the potential to get the job, so you need to stand out by showing as much interest in, and knowledge of, the company as possible.

Try and get hold of some hard-to-find facts which you can slip into conversation naturally, whilst impressing your interviewer with the extra research you have done.

  1. Prepare the Basics

Of course, there are standard questions that are nearly always asked in an interview, so make sure you have these thoroughly prepped beforehand. Your strengths and weaknesses are bound to come up, as well instances of how you have been a great team player, and what your biggest achievements are, so get these answers as perfected as possible beforehand. Click here for a list of the most common interview questions.

  1. Ask Questions

The best way to show interest in the company and job you have applied for is to ask lots of questions. Some will come up naturally during your conversation with your interviewer, but make sure you have at least five good ones ready before you arrive.

Remember to read your interviewer’s body language though: if they seem to be rushing you, and you catch them checking their watch, make sure you limit your questions if you think you are taking up too much time.

  1. Think Outside the Box

Your interviewer will be asking everyone the same questions, and is likely to hear very similar answers each time, so try and stand out by thinking outside the box.

Obviously, you don’t want to appear too quirky and weird, but try and get your personality across, and show them what makes you a unique character.

  1. Follow Up Afterwards

One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd is to follow up after your interview. Ring up or send an email a couple of days after your interview to let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them, and how excited you are at the prospect of working for their company.

Your enthusiasm will go a long way, and could be the edge you need if they are finding it hard to choose between you and other shortlisted applicants.

Amy Durant writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect internship. To browse their graduate jobs London listings, visit their website. For senior roles, see the Inspiring Search page.

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