Remember that an interview/meeting is a situation where a few hours can change the rest of your life. First and last impressions are extremely important and certainly do last. If the opportunity is one which you are really interested in you must "sell" yourself at the meeting; be confident, do sing your own praises (without being arrogant) and be positive at all times.
Below are a few pointers to remember prior to and during the interview that I thought would be helpful:
- In preparation, take time out to pick the right clothes, research the company and prepare a list of key points and questions covering what you want to get out of the meeting.
- Always smile when entering a room or meeting people, it relaxes them and helps them to warm to you.
- "Break the ice", i.e. Mention the weather, ask about their day or raise a topical issue.
- A good firm handshake with eye contact is essential.
- Put any information you have on the company on the table in front of you - this shows that you have taken the time to find out about them.
- During the interview, sit forward when you talk and be animated - it shows that you are enthusiastic.
- Pay attention - do not fidget or fiddle and let your attention be swayed when others are talking to you.
- Always maintain a good level of eye contact.
- Personalise your approach and answers to questions to match the company needs. Give plenty of related examples and "name drop" similar projects which you have been involved in previously.
- Do not try to make up answers to questions - people respect those who are not afraid to say "I don't know".
- Do not make a big show of how many interviews or offers you have or be overly confident to the point of arrogance - irrespective of how good you are or how in demand your skills no potential employer will be interested in you unless you show some genuine interest in their company and opportunity.
- Do not discuss money at early meetings - the fine points of the package can be discussed after they have established that you are of value to the company and want you.
- At the end of the interview ask for the job. This is very important. Shake the interviewer's hand and state clearly your interest in the company and the position - this will make a major and lasting impression.
- Remember - It is important to keep an open mind and not jump to premature conclusions about the company, the opportunity or your suitability for the position.
Above all, relax, be yourself and enjoy the interview!