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How to Ace Your Job Interview

Anthony Lam

There seems to be a shortage of resources aimed at seasoned professionals in job interviews. Contributor Anthony Lam Specialist Orthodontist and clinical teacher in Orthodontics at Guy’s Hospital.

Although they may be comfortable in a white-collar environment and no strangers to the workplace, it is simply untrue that people in the middle of their careers don’t want or need some pointers to help take them all the way and secure the next step in their lives. Here are some top tips for making the right impression on your prospective employer.

You’re no stranger to the working environment, and have had your fair share of experiences, good and bad, that you can use to your advantage in the future. So take some time to look back at the highlights and lowlights of your career thus far, and consider what you could adjust to make you a better employee, a better colleague and happier and more productive in yourself. What strengths and weaknesses do you know you have? Could you work on projecting confidence, or maintaining eye contact? You may also wish to revise a few of these past incidents, as prospective employers want to see real life examples of the sort of person you are.

First impressions are essential, and making sure that you look presentable in a way that suits both you and the job you are interviewing for is a major factor of your success. It can be a good idea to take a drive by the place you are interviewing for, and just observe how people working there are dressed, and how they present themselves, and adapt it into your own work dress style. Make sure the outfit you select is flattering for you, and in keeping with the code of the company you are interviewing with, and that your hair, nails and teeth are clean and well-maintained. You may wish to get a haircut or colouring a day or two before your interview, or even some cosmetic dentistry if you feel the need to do so. Looking your best will make sure a good impression is made, and will give you the confidence to present yourself well.

Develop Rapport
In many cases, interviewers are looking for you to cross the threshold from subject of testing, to participant in conversation. You should aim to knock down those formal walls and talk to the interviewer comfortably and confidently, as if you are already in their employ and having a meeting. Being able to overcome the standard awkwardness of first meetings is a good indication of your ability to hold your own, and present yourself in high pressured situations, not to mention the likelihood of a smooth integration into the company with little need for additional guidance.

Expect the Unexpected
The higher up the career ladder you go, the more employers like to test your competence and originality by asking you unconventional questions that might catch you off guard and force you to think on the spot. Of course it’s impossible to prepare for every eventuality, but it is important to go in with an open mind and not to show signs of being caught out if you get asked an unexpected question. You might want to ask a friend to help you prepare, by asking you questions you wouldn’t traditionally ask, and see what creative answers you can give that tell the interviewer something about you and your work ethic.

Show Your Passion
When you are invited for an interview, make sure to show your enthusiasm in your response to the invitation, and thank the employer for asking you. On your way out of the interview, make sure to shake hands firmly, and ask for the interviewer’s business card. Within a day or so of the interview, make sure to email the employer, thanking them for seeing you, and expressing how good a fit you believe you would be for the role. Many applicants never talk again to the interviewer, so reaching out that one last time can seal the deal by proving just how set you are on being successful.

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