Showing up 10 minutes early shows the interviewer that you are prompt and excited about the opportunity. While some people think the earlier the better, if you turn up too early, let’s say 30 minutes this may actually be an inconvenience to the interview panel.
If you do end up arriving in the area of the interview far too early, take a walk around or have a coffee. At the opposite end of the spectrum some people believe arriving right on time is the definition of being prompt. However, this allows very little time for office sign ins or niceties and may actually eat into your interview time.
I know I said before to grab a coffee, but please don’t bring it in with you. This can be seen as rude of perhaps like you’re taking the interview a bit too casually. If they take too long to get your coffee while you’re waiting, ditch it! You’ll have time for one later.
My rule of thumb is that it’s always better to be overdressed, you can take off a jacket or a tie if needed, but you can’t produce one out of thin air. For men I recommend a suit with or without a tie based on the position you’re going for.
For women I recommend either a business appropriate dress or pant/skirt suit. If in doubt, you can always ask the HR contact at the business about the office dress code before your interview.
There may be multiple people interviewing you at any one time. Make sure to shake everyone’s hand even if they aren’t the person who walks you into the room.
If there is someone joining by virtual means, be sure to give them a wave or say hello.
Research research research! If you have been progressed to an interview stage with a company, they will expect you to know a bit about them and they will more than likely ask what you know and why you want to work for them.
I personally expect candidates to research a company before applying for a position. The more prepared you are the better.
Sometimes when people are nervous they tend to look at the ground or their hands instead of people. As someone who interviews a lot of people, this can be very off putting and often makes the interview panel feel less engaged and connected with the candidate.
My advice is to try to maintain a good level of eye contact with the panel when asking and answering questions. I understand that in many cultures eye contact can be considered inappropriate or even disrespectful. If this is the case for you, simply tell the panel at the beginning.
Take your time to answer questions and don’t just blurt out the first thing that comes to you. In interviews there will be some tricky questions and it is ok to pause for a moment to gather your thoughts before responding.
At the end of your interview there should be an opportunity to ask questions. Make sure that you have some interesting and relevant questions prepared. It’s always disappointing for an interviewer, if the interview went well and then at the end the candidate says “You’ve answered all of my questions”.
My advice is to over prepare and write them down. If the panel have covered some of topics at least this should leave you with a few to ask. Also stay away from questions around salary, uniform and hours, you can ask HR about the particulars after the interview.
Interviewers know that going for an interview is a scary experience, let’s face it they have had to go for one at some point in their careers. If you’re nervous, tell them. For example, if you tend to talk at a rapid speed when nervous make the light comment of “feel free to tell me to slow down because I often talk quickly when nervous” it shows authenticity.
If you don’t understand a question also let them know or ask them to rephrase. There’s nothing worse than not understanding the question you’re trying to answer and leaving everyone confused.
This is something I rarely see from candidates and it makes the ones who take the time to do so really stand out. Not only does a thank you email give you the chance to thank the panel for their time, it also gives you the opportunity to reiterate what it is that you like about the role and also ask any questions you didn’t get to ask in the interview.