Despite our best efforts, interviews can be a minefield. Many of us feel totally in the dark as to what interviewers want, and feel baffled by their choices.  Below are revealed the ‘seven wonders of interviewing’, a list of lesser-known gems that help take the mystery out of the madness.

1. Interviewers are more likely to hire people they like.

We all know how lovable you are, so don’t let nerves prevent you from allowing your personality to shine at interview. Though debated, it’s generally agreed that interviewers are human-beings, and just like the rest of us, a smile and a bit of eye contact can go a long way.

2. Natural speech is more likely to be heard.

Recently, I interviewed a young Korean client who was attempting to sound more professional by ending all his answers with the phrase ‘to make an excellent contribution to your company’. Unfortunately, though somewhat endearing (not-to-mention confusing), jargon means nothing and can seem disingenuous and strange, so best to leave it out.

3. An ounce of passion can be worth a pound of experience.

Passion and interest are two drivers that frequently distinguish a bad employee from a good one; so Why do you want this job? What’s your story? Sentences like ‘there were no 9 o’clock lectures’ don’t tend to carry much weight with employers, so before you go in, reflect. Why you?

4. Forget to research your company, and your company may forget about you.

One of the most frequent interview questions is ‘what do you know about our company’, and I can’t tell you the amount of times people fudge this. Show employers that you are interested in their company by going online, looking at similar companies, or asking people you know about them

5. A concrete example builds a solid foundation

Many interviewers will ask you to ‘tell them about a time in your past when you.’ These ‘behavioural questions’ should focus on a concrete example of a time when you demonstrated a key, relevant behaviour in the past, such as when you made an important deadline or made it successfully to the gym. Well, maybe not the latter.

6. Panel interviews are a ‘painel’ in the neck

Where you have more than one person deciding your fate, try to remember that no matter who directs the question to you, it’s a good idea to reply to all, moving your attention from one person to the next. Tiring, indeed, but interviewers are an insecure bunch, and it will make them feel special.

7. People like it when you remember their names

People like it when you remember their names. Not much more I can say about that.

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