Putting Your Best Foot Forward

by Annie Tang in Blog

DatePosted on March 31, 2015 at 02:45 PM
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As everyone knows, first impressions always count. So when you are heading into an interview, you should know that there’s more to the interview than just being prepared to speak about yourself. 

If your trusted recruiter has arranged your interview, they will be able to advise you on the Interview background and tips. 

Meanwhile, here’s a brief summary of things to take into account:

Are You Prepared?

Apart from being fully familiar with your CV and being able to speak about yourself and to give examples about your experiences, you also need to be fully prepared to speak about the Interviewer’s Company.  Prior knowledge about the Company’s business from its own as well as external websites is essential. Familiarisation with the job description and learning more about it during the interview will be good discussion pointers.

Be prepared to ask questions about the Company to show your enthusiasm and interest.  On the other hand, carefully consider your questions in advance if possible because your questions can also indicate your personality. For eg, if you keep asking about or focusing on what time people clock on and off, this is a good indicator to the Interviewer that you may not be prepared to do the occasional project based over-time. Apart from demonstrating rigidity and clock-watching traits, it just may well ruin your chances of getting through to the next stage and/or of winning the job.

At the end of the interview, be prepared to ask what is the next stage so that you are not left hanging.  Advise your Recruitment Consultant what you discussed during the interview and what is the next stage and also what your feedback is so that they can follow up for you.

Know Your Interviewer

Knowledge about the Interviewer can also come in handy.  If you knew that they went to the same University as yourself or that you have mutual experiences and/or shared interests etc, this can be good topic pieces for making the interview less formal/rigid and also endearing you to the Interviewer.

If the interviewer is from the Human Resources team, they may focus less on the technical requirements of the role but more on the cultural fit.  Hence, it’s best to be prepared for individual interviews on a case by case basis.

If there is a panel interviewer consisting of 2 or more interviewers who may not be the hiring managers, make sure that you are courteous to all interviewers as they may all have equally say in the hire.

If the interview is conducted by Skype or video-conference, be careful to treat the meeting as if it is face to face.  It can be distracting looking at a small or large screen with things going on in the background of the interviewer. Try not to let other things distract you and maintain eye contact with the screen!

How do you Look, Smell and Sound!

Apart from the above, there are additional presentation matters to take into consideration.  You need to dress conservatively for an office based interview. Short skirts, revealing tops, high heels and over the top make up along with fancy hairpieces usually do not go down too well for office interviews. Unkempt hair and scruffy and casual clothes are also a big no-no.

This may be stating the obvious, but if you smoke or drink coffee before the interview, the aroma may put the interviewer off. On the other hand, strong overpowering perfume may also have an undesired effect!

We all know that singers and artists need to clear their throats/practise before going on stage.  We should also take this into account as interviewees because there is nothing worse than not finding your voice or getting stage fright when you go into an interview.

Before going for any interview, give yourself a well deserved pat on the back as you are one step further to getting that job!  And more importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get past the interview stage as there are always more opportunities around the corner!

About the Author

Annie Tang

Annie is a co-Managing Director of Star Anise, focusing on in-house legal roles. She is a former practising Hong Kong lawyer and a mother of two.

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