Your CV has knocked the employer’s socks off and you have an interview. Here are some tips on how to get the job in 20 seconds!
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation!
The first tip to get the job in 20 seconds is preparation. Before you step into the employer’s office, you need to be able to know who they want, what they want. Most importantly, you need to know why you are the best candidate and how your experience only confirms this. If you don’t know the answers to these questions and express them during the interview, the interviewer will possibly leave the interview wondering why they asked to see you.
This information can usually be found on the person spec, job description, websites and social media, so be sure to have your research cap on and take notes. This also gives you an opportunity to see if you would like to work for the company.
Always prepare for the question “Tell me about yourself”, highlighting your skills and experience that is specific to the role. It shows you are eager, prepared and excited about the possibility of this new opportunity. Remember to keep it short, you don’t want the interviewer snoozing before you have had a chance to shine.
Another key to getting the job in 20 seconds is confidence. While it is true the interviewer has most of the power, keep in mind they must have seen something interesting in your CV and cover letter that made them go through the trouble of inviting you for an interview. With the right prep, you can go to the interview knowing you have the skills and ability to be the best candidate and get the job.
Ever heard the phrase “You are what you eat”? Well, you are also what you wear. If you know you look good, you will feel good, even if it is putting on your lucky boxers or your favourite blouse. Feel comfortable in your outfit and make sure it is suitable for the role. At least you will have one less thing to worry about in the interview.
Before you enter the building and the interviewer introduces himself, take a deep breath, confidently walk for 20 steps, give a firm handshake and look them in the eye, smile and introduce yourself. In those first few seconds, the interviewer is forming an opinion of you before you have sat down, so give them the best you and make them want to give you the job. After all your hard work, you deserve it!
Sometimes it’s not what you said but what you didn’t say that didn’t get you the job. In his book Silent Messages, Professor Albert Mehrabian says 55% of communication takes place through body language, so it is important to get this right in the first 20 seconds.
If an interviewer walks in and sees you staring into space, slouching or even yawning, their immediate perception will be you don’t want to be there. If there are other candidates waiting, try starting up a conversation and finding out about them. If the interviewer sees you are engaging with others, they will instantly see you have good communication skills, confidence and that you want to be there. If you are sitting on your own, make sure you are sitting upright, attentive, reading things on the walls or a relevant book. Make sure you keep a half smile so you appear approachable. Remember, you are also a stranger to the interviewer.
One of the signs of lying is lack of eye contact. The problem is it is difficult to distinguish no eye contact from lying or just plain nerves. It is important you keep good eye contact, not just in the first 20 seconds but throughout the whole interview because the interviewer might start to wonder if you are right for the role.
So, to get that job in 20 seconds you need to be prepared, stay confident, smile, make eye contact and act like you want to be there. After all, if you get the job, you will be spending a lot more of your time there, so make the interview count!
by Nathalie Lot