8 Things You Must Change About Your Interview Approach in 2013

by Kazim Ladimeji

The general consensus in the recruiting world is that the busiest month for hiring, that is when they get a boom in job seeker applications, is January. This surge in job seeker activity is generally fuelled by pent up demand, as a result of the annual slowdown in recruitment activity during the festive period and job seekers regarding the new calendar as great time to make a new start on their professional career.

This means that January can be an exciting time for recruiters (as they post jobs and seek to take advantage of the huge supply of talent), but it is also an important and exciting time for you job-seekers as you look to capitalize on the job opportunities flooding into the market. The problem is that although supply of jobs is high, competition is fierce as there is huge demand for jobs from enthusiastic job-seekers.

Since demand for jobs is higher than ever, if you want to fully capitalize on this January golden period for jobs, you must have a superior job search and interview strategy. I’d recommend that you spend a little of your time during the festive period, developing your job search and interview strategy in readiness for 2013. Why? Because the research is constantly being refreshed on the most effective job search and interview techniques, and the strategies that you used last year, or a few years ago, may not be so effective today, and in fact may even have been replaced with more effective approaches.

To help up with this process of improving your interviewing approach in readiness for 2013, I have reviewed some of the latest recommended interview strategies and approaches and below have presented the 8 Things You Must Change About Your Interview Approach in 2013 – to help you fully capitalize on job market opportunities in the golden January period and beyond.

1.Make a strong first impression. Research from Harvard University shows that interviewers make their mind up about you within the first 30 seconds of meeting you. You must therefore make a strong impression of meeting by engaging in a firm handshake, (at least matching the pressure applied by the other party), by maintaining eye contact while shaking, and by smiling and looking positive.

2.Make regular eye contact during the interview. A survey by comerecommended has found that 67% of employers cite that ‘failure to make regular eye contact is a common non-verbal interview mistake – so make to make regular eye contact during the interview

3.Research the company prior to the interview. 47% of employers in the comerecommended survey cite that the most common mistake made by candidates is having little or no knowledge of the company prior to interview – so do your employer background research prior to interview.

4.Prepare for and practice aptitude tests

Studies show that over 80% of the FTSE 100 and the majority of large companies all over the world use aptitudes as part of the interview and selection process. So, there is a good chance you may face an aptitude test if going for a role at a bigger company. The good news is that you can prepare for aptitude tests by practising them and this can improve your performance at interview. Read my article here to find out how to prepare for aptitude tests.

5.Ask questions at the end of interview; most employers will expect you to ask pertinent questions, usually at the end of the interview, but there is no steadfast rule. If you don’t ask pertinent questions you can appear disinterested which will not reflect well on your candidacy. Therefore, prepare interview questions in advance of the interview which you can ask the employer.

6.Start the job during the interview

Most people will attend the interview and answer the interview questions as required; many will excel at answering those questions. This is fine, but hardly original. Why not do something more inventive and actually start doing the job? This does not mean, walk out of the interview and take up a desk in the office. What I mean is, if you are a product marketer, propose a new product, if you are sales person devise a prospect lists with key contacts, if its an editorial role, bring in one of the article’s publications with your amendments, and so on. This is a great way to get first-mover advantage.

7. Don’t be afraid to negotiate at interview

Research from a Careerbuilder survey reveals that 70% of employers will leave some negotiating room when making initial job offers to candidates and, remarkably, 10% said they would think less of a candidate who didn’t try to negotiate a better deal. So, don’t be afraid to negotiate, but ensure to do it effectively.

8. Make more use of ‘I’ statements during interview

Make more use of ‘I’ statements during interview as opposed to ‘we’, ‘us’ or god forbid, ‘they’ statements. ‘I’ statements such as, ‘I did this…’ and, ’I implemented this’ demonstrate confidence and conviction and are more convincing generally. Of course, be careful not to over do it and if your particular achievement was a team effort, be sure not to take credit for other’s work by using phrases such as “My individual contribution to the team effort was that I changed this…’

Good luck with your interviews in 2013!

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