Ask a Recruiter...
Nadina is our Consultant who deals with Client Services, Strategy and Marketing. She often gets asked by her candidates about interview etiquette, and how to toe the fine line between friendly and over- familiar; so, she has taken the time to share the gems she’s learnt:
Read the room
I believe emotional intelligence is the most important thing to enter an interview with. Your instincts will allow you to read the room and sense the level of energy that will be needed from you.
Once you’ve sensed it, match it; but don’t entirely alter your personality to suit the interviewers as you could end up doing yourself a detriment.
Remember that the person interviewing you doesn’t necessarily reflect the whole team, they may not even be part of the team.
E.g. You may feel the need to tone down your personality when speaking to a subdued HR manager, but they could have a brief requesting someone bubbly and outspoken. So always remain true to yourself.
Keep some mystery
Avoid oversharing or becoming over familiar with the interviewer; no matter how friendly they are.
You do want to be warm and welcoming, but remain professional by side stepping pet names, slang and swear words.
Talk about your achievements and career 95% of the time.
Sell your professional side first, prepare a few funny stories about your work experience that will not only show off your personality but also get across what an amazing employee you obviously are. That should spark enough conversation to void the need to talk about your personal life.
Even when you aren’t talking your actions are saying a great deal about you, research shows that 60% to 90% of communication is non-verbal, so it’s important to get your actions under control in order to show your potential employer that you are capable and confident in your abilities.
Keep nervous habits, like nail biting or foot shaking, to a minimum as the interviewer may misinterpret them as uncertainty about your skills, even if you’re more than qualified for the role.
When it comes to handshakes, it's go hard or go home.
My pet peeve is a limp handshake. To me, they set the tone of the whole conversation; a weak handshake screams unsure whilst a firm handshake says “I'm here, I’m qualified and I’m ready to show you”.
Also, make sure to maintain eye contact and throw in some affirmative movements, like nods, every now and then to remind the interviewer you’re listening and still very much interested.
No matter how sparkling your personality is, or confident you are, you should always be prepared for an interview.
Researching the company is a no-brainer, especially if you’re genuinely interested in the company.
Do your Google’s to familiarise yourself with the company’s history, previous work and culture. Not just so you can answer their questions relevantly, but to give yourself something to say when the “so do you have any questions for us?” part of the interview inevitably rolls around.
Research will also give you an insight into how important professionalism is to them.
A great way to show both professionalism and personality is to be open about your desire to display both in equal measures.
Employers love transparency, and most view self-awareness as a desirable quality.
So, if you get flustered just be honest. The main thing to remember is that there is a work environment for everyone. Just because the companies you’ve spoken with so far can’t value your level of professionalism, doesn’t mean there isn’t one which will.
Get in touch with one of our recruiters who will diagnose your needs and find your perfect fit.