Ace Your Interview Following These 15 Useful Tips

Person with computer awaiting for his interview

The famous interview… The one that gives us chills just by thinking about it… I told you recruitment is like love!

It’s important to know that this part of the recruitment process is reciprocal.

On the recruiter side, the interview has two main objectives:

  • First, to confirm the skillset mentioned on your CV or LinkedIn profile, previous tests, etc.
  • Second, getting to know you better, both personally and professionally. This, to be certain on whether you will be a good fit for the company as a whole and for the specific position.

On your side, the main goal is to know more about the position, the company’s culture, your potential team.

With a few useful tips, you will become the Michael Jordan of interviews!!

They are, like a peach, divided into 2 parts: Content and form.

Table of Contents

Content

A lot of people believe that extroverts are more likely to succeed in an interview.

It is not true, the shyest person can excel in the exercise!! But you must be prepared. It is this preparation that will give you confidence, allowing you to be more comfortable and to show your full potential.

Just be yourself! Do not try to invent a personality that is not yours but which, according to you, adheres to the company’s codes, because in the end, you will not find your way there anyhow. Assume who you are.

Storytime!

In one of my interviews, I was asked how I was planning to be in 20 years, and I answered spontaneously with a big smile: “You know, life is long and in 20 years’ time I might be on an island giving yoga classes!

The recruiter was certainly surprised by my response and, at the same time, he appreciated the sincerity of my answer.

Similarly, he asked me if I mastered computer tools (I suck at Excel… if you knew how bad!), and I told him that I didn’t master this tool but that I had the curiosity and the desire to learn.

I could have answered “yes”, but it wasn’t true. Besides, I could slip that I was curious and eager to learn. A sincere and winning answer!

Here again, it’s all about balance. For a position in the Finance sector, if you do not master Excel it’s a bit complicated!

What I mean is, you have the right not to know, not to master everything, but you have the duty to show your motivation and desire to learn.

1. The 3D rule

I read this concept in the book The Interview Motivation by Mustapha Benkalfate, which I found relevant.

Initially, this is a rule for oral examinations in order to be admitted to top business schools, but this fully applies to recruitment interviews.

A recruiter expects a candidate to showcase three main dimensions during their speech:

  • The relational dimension: How you work with others, state of mind, team spirit, solidarity…
  • The action dimension: What have you actually done, achieved, made happen?
  • The intellectual dimension: Your curiosity, your ability to take a step back, your analyses…

Try to keep this rule in mind when you prepare your interview and with these 3 Ds together your interview will be successful.

2. Know how to talk about yourself and your experiences.

When you talk about past experiences (if any), you must master the conversation, learn how to use each of the questions to lead the recruiter on where you want to go to.

For each past experience, you must be able to talk about:

  • The company in which you were working
  • Your task
  • Your results
  • What you gained from it
  • Developed qualities
  • Difficulties encountered (and how you overcame them)

Example:

I did an internship at XXX, an international recruitment firm present in 33 countries. I worked in the so-called “Delivery” team, where the aim was to respond to issues combining volume, and deadlines.

I had to be able to find 15 telemarketers overnight to work in Happy City. You have to be very reactive, proactive and know how to manage pressure. I have considerably developed my coordination and commercial skills.

This internship was successful because I helped bring in $30,000 of revenue in 6 months and the manager wanted to offer me a full-time position.

Beyond these elements, do not forget that you must be able to answer each “why” coming from the recruiter: Why these studies? Why this first job? Why do you want to change?

Similarly, for your more personal experiences through sports, music, your travels, etc. you must mention keywords that will echo in the recruiter’s mind.

Example:

-I like football because it allows me to relax…
-Uh, okay, but what else?
-I like football because I am a fighter, I like to challenge myself, I have a sense of teamwork, so a team sport makes me feel good.

Example 2:

I have been playing the violin for 10 years, it is something that requires concentration, discipline, and meticulousness. I like the exigency that learning how to play this instrument implies.

Yes, you must be able to develop each element of your CV, but the exchange must not turn into a poetry recitation. I don’t want a speech learned by heart!

Knowing how to talk about everything doesn’t mean you have to talk about everything!

You must certainly be able to talk about a failure that has been overcome, but if the recruiter does not talk to you about it, you do not have to talk about it. What you say must be coherent.

You have to rehearse, but not recite! It is first and foremost an exchange, a discussion whose purpose is to identify your personality, your relevance to the position and the consistency of your profile.

You must take into consideration the reaction of your interlocutor, and to adapt.

You have prepared the interview, and you (rightfully so) want to put forward as much relevant information as possible. That is understandable, but you must answer the recruiter’s precise questions.

Storytime!

I remember a candidate who had learned her presentation by heart, but I interrupted to ask her about her “why” and she didn’t answer me. She resumed her speech, she couldn’t deviate from her script.

My goal was not to make her feel uncomfortable. On the contrary, I wanted to learn who she was beyond her speech.

She couldn’t convince me. In case you’re wondering… I stopped the interview to give her all the best advice possible and explain the codes of the interview so that the experience remained constructive for her.

3. Talking about your competences

Competencies include the skills, behaviors, and knowledge you have.  

Knowing how to talk about your skills and accomplishments is essential, yet sometimes we struggle when expressing them in a powerful and relevant way.

Do you find it difficult to give concise and relevant answers to competence-related questions? Such as “Tell me about a time when/ What do you do when/ describe/ give me an example…”

Are you worried about sounding boastful when talking about your accomplishments?

The STAR interview method can help you.

By following its framework, you will be able to answer in a clear, concise and relevant manner. The STAR method will help you provide concrete examples that show you possess the skills and experience for the job.

STAR is the acronym of Situation (the context) Task (your responsibility) Action (how you completed the task) Result (What you achieved, or learned).

Example: Give me an example of a situation in which you had to complete a task under a tight deadline?

The answer must be concise or the recruiter’s attention will get lost in the way.

Something like this:

Situation:

In one of my internships, I was working in the “Express” team, which aims to find candidates for clients with a short deadline, around 1 week generally.

Task:

But one day, a client asked urgently for 5 people to be recruited for the next day. As my manager believed in my reactivity, she challenged me to find them.

Action:

I took a deep breath! -Smile- I prioritized that client, I screened all existing Job Boards, managed to call 40 candidates and finally found 5.

Result:

Tight deadlines stimulate me and, at the end, I got a call from the client. He was really grateful for my job! I felt useful and happy as I saw the impact of my job by helping him. My manager also expressed gratitude for my commitment. Happy client, happy manager, happy me!  

To prepare you STAR Answer:

  • Have a look at the job offer
  • Make a list of the skills required for the job
  • Think of examples when you used that skill
  • For each example name its corresponding Situation, Task, Action, and Result.

If you don’t have job experience, you can speak about your personal experience.

Even if you prepare your examples, you are never immune to surprising questions. In these cases, don’t be afraid to ask for a minute to answer. It is not a problem. It actually shows you take a step back and think before talking.

4. You must reassure the recruiter and justify!

You must use your past to reassure them about the future.

You have to prove your point! Simply saying that you are curious and that you like teamwork is only words in the air.

You must justify it by talking about the experiences in which you have had to demonstrate these qualities.

And you can do it through each of your professional or non-professional experiences!

You may not yet have any relevant experience. It doesn’t matter!

Example: Would you consider that remaining focused is one of your qualities?

Yes! When I was 16, I was in a different country working full-time as a babysitter, taking care of 3 children who were 3 to 6 years old. It was a big responsibility.

For about 8 hours per day, the kids were under my watch and needed to be fed, entertained and safe. That required me to be both focused and creative for long periods of time.

Any single mistake or distraction had the potential of having one of the kids severely injured.

See? Any moment of your life adds up to your skill set and can be useful in the interview.

Trust yourself. Every experience is interesting, don’t devalue any of them  🙂

5. Knowing how to answer the famous “Qualities & Defaults” question

Qualities

I will repeat it every day if necessary, but every mentioned quality must be justified, preferably illustrated by an experience of your own.

You must show that you know how to capitalize on your strengths. If the recruiter asks you this question, take 5 seconds before answering, pretend to think about it in order to avoid giving the impression that you’re memorizing your answers by heart!

Examples:

1. I love challenges – I went backpacking to Latin America alone for 3 months, and I discovered a pronounced crave for adventure!

2. I’m someone who gives their best – I have participated and won multiple prizes on football or I recently ran a full marathon

3. I’m honest and transparent – During my past internships, I have always had real and direct relationships with my managers and colleagues. They have expressed their gratitude for being myself and expressing my thoughts, no matter how uncomfortable.

Defaults

The famous defaults! A question that you do not like but which gives recruiters an idea of your self-understanding.

First… Let’s have a look at how NOT to answer this question.

3 errors prohibited by the 1535 Recruitment Law!!!
1. The 0 defaults

Perhaps you think that by not mentioning any defaults you will enhance the recruiter’s perception of yourself.

Help! Help!!!! The opposite is true!!!

Storytime!

One day, I was doing an interview along with the director of the company, we asked the classic question and the candidate answered that she had no defaults.

Quite surprised, the director and I insisted by telling her “your relatives shall find you some defaults or at least areas for improvement”.

She reiterated.

I said that this was not a trick question and that no one is perfect. She told us she had no flaws.

Well, we detected her lack of humility!! and she was obviously not chosen.

Similarly, mentioning only one default and no more… Please… no no no no!!!!

I will repeat it regularly: Be humble. Always.

2. Disguised qualities or false defects

There’s nothing worse when a candidate says “I am too organized or I’m too perfectionist“.

This is not a real flaw; the recruiter immediately feels that the answer is not sincere and humble. We all have defects, we are human. It is a reality, so don’t be afraid to express your measured version of it.  

3. The killer, no-filter defaults

This is the other extreme of the spectrum.

Acknowledging your flaws, real ones, is necessary. But avoid the flaws that will make the recruiter run away, such as “I am egocentric or I am very individualistic or I am selfish”.

You got me… be measured!

How to actually answer this question

It’s a matter of balance. Don’t flat out lie by saying you have no defaults… but also don’t be brutally honest that you’ll make the recruiter wanna jump out of the window.

I call the right way of responding: The measured default.

A measured default must contain a remediating plan. A default is well-mentioned so long as you demonstrate that you’re working on minimizing or eliminating it!

Incomplete default: I’m impatient (yeah, sure. So what?).
Measured default: I’m impatient, I like things to move fast… sometimes too fast. But I’ve been doing yoga for 6 months, which helps me focus on the present moment and manage my impatience. 

Not only do you show that you are aware enough to work on it, but you also offer a bait to the recruiter by bringing them to yoga, which you can then talk about.

Of course, don’t lie!! Don’t make up anything, don’t talk about yoga if you don’t do it.

The question of defaults is very subtle. It is a fair balance to be found. Not always obvious, I’ll give you that.

Don’t use a disguised quality, nor a frightening defect. You have to argue by trying to turn it into a positive trait.

In short, a balancing exercise that I am sure you will be able to do very well ☺

Some candidates have already told me that they simply can’t find 3/4 qualities or defaults.

I invite you to ask your family and friends the question and to take personality tests, which can shed some light.

6. Talking about the company

It is essential to know about the company before the interview: You should have an understanding about:

  • Business model
  • Geographical location (national, European, global company?)
  • Foundation (when, how, why)
  • Main values
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Recent events

It is also relevant (if you can) to go through the LinkedIn profile of the person you’ll have the interview with. A little bit of stalking never harmed anybody!

You will have a better understanding of who you’ll be speaking with, less stressed and better prepared on the I-day.

7. Knowing how to answer to the famous… Salary expectations.

First… Please do not ask about salary, vacation or benefits in the first interview!!

These elements must be addressed at a later stage!

Asking the question, in the beginning, raises questions about your real motivations. Of course, vacations are life!! And they are important questions!!! But not in the first interview.

In the process, however, if the recruiter asks you the question, you must be able to answer it accurately.

Fixed, bonus, variable package, gross, net. Everything must be clear in your head.

$40k of fixed salary is not the same as $30k fixed and $10k variable.

Find out about the salaries in your city, sector, trade, industry. We know, for example, that supermarkets generally pay less than the pharmaceutical industry.

1. Find out about the salaries in your field: Knowledge is the key to mastering negotiation!

There are sites with salary studies, by profession, sector, like the following:

Payscale
Salary.com
Glassdoor

2. Give a precise figure, as opposed to a range

Sticking to a precise figure will give you more power of negotiation.

3. Don’t get greedy

The salary increase when changing companies is generally around 10%.

Don’t be too greedy by thinking “I have nothing to lose”.

Targeting high is good, but stay consistent with your market and your experience, or you may lose credibility.

4. Don’t sell yourself down either.

Some young graduates especially think that if they are less greedy than their competitors they will have more chance.

No. If a recruiter wants you, it’s not $3k or $4k per year that will make the difference.

8. Creating a bond

During an interview, we tend to think that we must be as serious as possible to guarantee our professionalism.

Of course, demonstrating your skills is essential, but don’t forget one major thing: The recruiter and/or your manager must be able to project themselves with you, beyond your seriousness.

Will you be a good colleague? A good collaborator? A good partner? They need to see the person you will be the majority of the time.

You must be able to create enough of a link with your interlocutor in 45 minutes for them to choose working with you 45 hours a week.

We spend a lot of time at work, good relations are important. Show your good attitude.

Don’t just stay in the “candidate’s role”. I will give you an example that resonated with me.

Storytime!

I was interviewing a candidate for a sales position. She was competing with another candidate but she was the favorite on paper because she was more experienced.

The interview was going rather well, she presented her background, experiences and skills very well, but I had trouble understanding her personality.

So I gave her some cues. I saw that she could speak Italian, and I talked to her about Italy and their delicious Tiramisu (I love cliché!!) but unfortunately, she didn’t get the cue and stayed too much in her role.

At that moment, I needed her to create a bond with me by saying, for example, “Oh, their Tiramisu is the best thing in the world!”.

I needed to feel the real person behind the shell.

That was not the case, neither with me nor with her potential manager and she was therefore not recruited.

The less-experienced candidate was, she knew how to create a bond.

You can do it with almost with every question, every step!

When talking about your qualities, for instance, you can say with a smile “I make delicious Nutella cookies!” Don’t be afraid!

And then remember one thing: If the person in front of you is cold as an ice cube and rude, will you really want to work for them?

9. How to conclude well an interview

At the end of the interview, it is relevant to ask questions. This shows your interest in the company and the position.

I invite you to ask your interlocutor questions such as :

  • The corporate culture – How does the company operate? What is the organizational culture?
  • The company’s medium-term & long-term projects?
  • What is the size of the team in which I will be working?
  • What are the current challenges the company is facing?   
  • What are the next steps in the process? When will I get a response?
  • What are the main qualities of your best employees?

For other relevant questions you should ask in the interview (and what their answers might tell you), you can check out this resource from Chasing Our Financial Freedom.

If you’re not sure of remembering these questions, feel free to write them down on your notebook and look at them at the end of the interview.

That will show you prepared the interview thinking of relevant questions.. You don’t need to remember them by heart!

The end of the interview is also an opportunity to hand in any elements likely to highlight your achievements and skills like your portfolio or letter of recommendation.

Never forget, the recruiter needs to be reassured.

If you don’t have a letter of recommendation, no problem. Do not hesitate to let the recruiter know that you can send them contact details for a reference if necessary.

10. Standing out in the post-interview phase.

You often forget it and yet it is fundamental… Oh yes, just like parmesan on pasta… The post-interview message!!!

The interview went well, perfect. It’s time to stand out from the crowd by sending a “thank you” message to the recruiter, or potential manager.

The idea is to summarize what was discussed in the interview and thank the interlocutor.

These 5 elements should be included in your message:

  • Thanking the person you had the interview with
  • Recapping on the job-related tasks mentioned in the interview
  • Reassuring your expertise in relation to the job
  • Emphasizing your interest
  • Leaving your contact details

Here is an example of a post-interview email:

Subject: Interview follow-up – Thursday, July 5th, 2018 [Interview date] – Sales Manager position – A Way Searcher [your name]

Mr. XXX, 

Thanking: 

Following our meeting yesterday, I would like to thank you for your time and the quality of our exchange.

Recapping:

I wanted to recap on what we discussed as the essential elements of the position: A high proportion of internship recruitment and facilitation of the young talent community.

It is also about ensuring the proper integration of young employees by having a vision of opportunities and their career follow-up. 

Reassuring expertise:

During my internships, I learned how to manage high volumes of recruitment on extremely diverse profiles. All while dealing independently with the administrative management derived from recruitment processes.

Emphasizing interest:

I’m definitely interested in this position, which is fully in line with my expectations and career plan.

Leaving contact details:

I remain at your disposal for any additional information you may require.

Sincerely,
A Way Searcher
+1 203940

It is good to send the email within 24 hours. Not right away, not 300 years later either!

Fundamental tips and exception to the 24-hour rule: Did your interview take place on a Friday?

1.Do not send emails on Friday evenings or weekends. Why? On Monday morning, the manager has 300 emails to go through, and yours will be drowned among many others with higher priority.

Instead, send the email on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

2. No spelling mistakes are tolerated. Make this mail proofread by the whole world if necessary. The idea is for it to lift you up, not drag you down.

11. How to know if your interview went well?

I’m not going to pretend to be a fortune-teller and make you believe that we can read in the future and know in advance the outcome of an interview.

The interview is a human exchange and not a mathematical demonstration. It’s not an exact science and there is never absolute certainty!  

Sometimes we have the impression that the interview went well and end up deeply disappointed when we find out about the result. Some others, we have the feeling that we didn’t manage to perform well and end up positively surprised.

With the understanding that we can’t have 100% certainty on whether we’ll move forward, there are still 5 signs that can that help you estimate the success or failure of your interview:

1. The length of the interview

When a candidate does not meet the expectations, we realize it quite quickly.

Even if, out of respect, we continue the interview, we do not dig dipper. Thus, if your interview is long and the exchange is prolonged, it is very likely that your profile is appealing and that the recruiter wants to find out as much as possible about you.

Moreover, if they go beyond the very formal framework of the interview and ask you lighter questions or make jokes, this shows that they are in no hurry to shorten the interview and that they appreciate the exchange. That’s a sign of good news for the future.

2. The recruiter promotes the company and the position

If the recruiter starts “selling” you the company, the position, the tasks, the advantages, it is most likely because they are trying to seduce you. If the candidate doesn’t convince us, we won’t spend 10 minutes trying to persuade them about the job and the tasks!

We will present the company to them, certainly. But in a rather factual and objective way. If your interlocutor uses superlatives and positive adjectives to describe the position or company, it looks pretty good 😉

3. The fluidness of the exchange

You know, recruitment is like love! With some people, there’s chemistry, with others none. Here, it’s the same.

You will probably feel it if the exchange is fluid and natural. By that, I’m referring to conversations that flow naturally amongst participants. Words come easily, one topic leads to the other seamlessly. You’re comfortable and focused. The recruiter has their full attention on you.

Also, observe the recruiter’s posture, are they smiling? Do they look you in the eye? Are they enthusiastic when they talk? Pay attention to non-verbal communication. It can tell you a lot.

4. They ask you questions about your current processes

When we want a candidate, our main concern is to lose them! We, therefore, want to know where you stand with your applications to find out how long we have before getting back to you in order to secure your recruitment.

The recruiter’s fear? That they want to recruit someone, but they take too long to get back and that, in the meantime, the candidate has accepted an offer elsewhere.

So if the recruiter is curious about other ongoing processes you’re in, it’s positive.

5. The recruiter spontaneously mentions the next steps

Often one of your questions at the end of the interview is: What is the next step in the process?

If the recruiter anticipates it and talks about the following steps themselves, it is a good sign. They’re most likely excited about your performance and want you to know what the next steps will be. Pay attention to the adverbs. If they tell you “we will come back to you very quickly” it smells pretty good! Like cookies in the oven!

So no, we’re not in the movie “Back to the Future”! We cannot travel in time to know the result.

But if you are attentive to these 5 signs, you will be better able to judge the outcome of your exchange…

However please, as long as you do not have a firm and definitive answer, remain careful to avoid too much disappointment 🙂

12. I have been interviewed and have no feedback… What should I do?

It might be one of three cases:

1. The recruiter has too much on their plate, so they haven’t had time to contact you back yet. Remember, your notion of time is not the same as the recruiter’s. Having a response in a week time might seem endless to you, but fairly reasonable to them.

2. The recruiter must discuss with your potential manager about your application and this may delay the process. Endless times I had to follow-up on the managers so that they proceeded to contact the candidates. Not everything is in the hands of the HR department, don’t forget it!

3. You were not chosen…

In either case, I invite you to do one the following:

1. Send a reminder email about 1 week after the interview (before that, it might be perceived as annoying), specifying the date of the interview in the subject line.

Something like this:  A Way Searcher [your name] – Follow-up interview on October 15, 2019: Marketing Manager position

You should ask in the email what the timeline will be for receiving feedback.  In addition, you should reinforce your interest and motivation.

In the signature, specify your telephone number.

2. Call them and ask about the status of your application, for you to know whether to continue or not in other recruitment processes.

This will give the recruiter a bit of a sense of urgency in regards to your application, which might help you have a quicker response.

Are you stressed before calling? It’s understandable. You can write down your different topics on a notebook before doing so!

You can do both simultaneously as well, but find the right balance and don’t be too insistent!

13. I didn’t get the job after the interview. How should I deal with it?

A rejection after an interview is difficult to accept, we are divided between several feelings: Disappointment, anger, questioning, guilt, devaluation, anxiety.  

But, contrary to what you may think, you are not in a situation of failure. Failure is not having the courage to dare. You dared to apply and prepared yourself, so you succeeded. 

I never lose: Either I win or I learn

Nelson Mandela

Success and rejection work in tandem, negative feedback is part of the game. An athlete who does high jump and drops the bar thousands of times before passing it is training every day.

Consider interviews as training until the long-expected yes. Does an athlete give up at each training session when he/she drops the bar? No. He/she perseveres, improves and makes progress until the desired goal is reached.

I didn’t fail. I just found 10,000 solutions that didn’t work

Thomas Edison

The person who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never falls. 

As the interviews go, you will refine your speech and become progressively more comfortable with the exercise.

Today’s no will generate tomorrow’s yes. 

My experience on the mindset towards rejection

Even though I had a master’s degree in Human Resources, and that I had done 4 internships in this field, I was not chosen after the first interview for my first job.

My competitors had more experience and they knew how to highlight it. After the negative answer, I started to question myself: Was it my personality? What was I lacking? I was in permanent self-criticism.

I think that questioning is essential to any evolution at any level. But, in this case, questioning concerns you only as a candidate and not as a person. Self-criticism won’t help you.

The nuance is essential and when I understood that, I stopped denigrating myself and started to apply with conviction. I wanted to prove to the recruiter that she had made a mistake by not choosing me and I wanted to prove to myself that I could find a job.  The self-criticism was replaced by conviction to move forward.

A few weeks later I got 2 offers from the next 2 interviews I did.

Recruitment is not a mathematical science, there isn’t always a rational explanation and that can lead to frustration.  

Being disappointed is legitimate, but turn that disappointment into determination and move on. Develop a resilient mindset by facing challenges with a positive approach. 

Of course, you must learn the necessary lessons from it, but do not ruminate on the past that you can no longer change, but concentrate your energy on your future and what you can still accomplish.

Show resiliency and professionalism after being rejected

To start with, you can stand out from 90% of candidates who receive negative responses by sending a courteous follow-up email to the recruiter.

This will allow you to differentiate yourself and show that you’re professional while remaining positive. The recruiter will keep a good image of you and will be more willing to contact you for another opportunity. 

Here’s an example:

Dear recruiter,

I sincerely wanted to thank you for the time you devoted to my application, I greatly appreciated our discussion and the values promoted by your company.
As you can imagine, I am inevitably disappointed by your decision, but always enthusiastic about the idea of working together one day.
So feel free to keep my contact details if a new relevant position comes up.
I remain at your disposal and wish you a great day.

Best regards,
A Way Searcher

Secondly, ask the recruiter for feedback. Ask him/her how you can improve in the future. That will both cause a good impression and help you tweak aspects of your performance at the interview.

Finally, you can allow yourself to eat a delicious chocolate cake before going back to job hunting !!! 😉

Bonus: The Assessment Center. Also called “group interview”

The group interview is an exercise that is usually dreaded, and understandably so!

For some people (including myself), it feels like a scene of the movie The Gladiator, where everyone’s fighting to the death and the last standing person wins.

However, some companies find it a good exercise to better know what the candidates are capable of and therefore make a decision with a higher degree of certainty.

If you find yourself in one of these, here are the keys to succeed:

1. Make extensive research about the company’s culture and values.

2. Express yourself. If you don’t say a word, it will be difficult for the recruiter to form an opinion about you! So, talk exchange, express yourself.

3. Listen carefully. Listening is an important quality, so be polite and don’t cut off the voice of others, or you risk looking arrogant and rude.

4. Manage time. Whatever type of exercise is requested, you will be asked to do it in a given amount of time. Time management is an important aspect that many people overlook. Show recruiters that you have good time management skills by regularly looking at your watch or even placing it in front of you, and timing the exercise.

5. Conclude by summarizing the action plan: Show the recruiter your ability to bring a project, an exercise, to a successful end and thus to a successful conclusion.

Form

14. Dress code

Recruitment is like love, every person consciously or subconsciously judges the presentation of a person.

The first impression is fundamental, the recruiter judges the non-verbal aspect as you would for a romantic date!

Don’t forget the 3V rule theorized by Albert Mehrabian: 93% of communication is nonverbal (7% verbal, 38% vocal, 55% visual).

1. Be elegant but be yourself

The idea is that you feel comfortable in your clothes, that you don’t feel disguised while giving a good impression to the recruiter.

I advise you to use neutral tones (beige, grey, black, black, white, navy blue, khaki), as well as never wearing more than 3 different colors!

With these colors, you will not take any risks. Yeah, okay. Do you think it doesn’t fit your personality?  Do you like brighter colors? Nothing prevents you from accessorizing with a scarf, a necklace, a belt… more flashy!

Of course, you will adapt your attire to the dress code of your profession or to the code of the company in which you are applying (a startup, more casual. A law firm, for instance, more formal).

2. The buttons on the jacket or suit (if you’re wearing one)!

  • If a jacket has only one button you close it
  • If a jacket has 2 buttons: You only close the one at the top. The second one remains open
  • If a jacket has 3 buttons: You only close the top and middle one, but the bottom one remains open

3. Elements to avoid

Wrinkled clothes. It looks very neglected. Properly ironing your t-shirt won’t take you more than 5 minutes. It’s simple, not time-consuming and irons are relatively affordable. No excuses!

White socks!! Unless your name is Michael Jackson, white shoes with black classy shoes are forbidden by the 1825 fashion law! We bet on black, navy blue, dark, brown. Of course, once again you will adapt depending on your job industry, type of company, etc.

Sexy clothes. A big neckline, a mini-skirt may discredit your speech, it’s a pity. The same for the boys… the shirt open showing your chest hair… no thanks!!!!

Too much makeup. Simplicity, here again, is essential. Girls: A little glow + a mascara + a nude/beige/rosé lipstick is perfect. In the same way, discreet nail polish is required. The fluorescent yellow or electric blue we keep it for this summer with your mojito!!

Distracting accessories. The huge bracelet that Grandma gave us but which makes an elephant sound as soon as you move your wrist?

No thanks. We don’t finish the perfume bottle either!  The recruiter should focus on your speech and not on trying to breathe.

Not taking bags. Whether for Women or Men, coming without a bag will give the impression of a tourist who comes with his hands in his pockets. You must take a bag in which you bring a notebook, a pen, and your CV.

15. Your attitude

So we talked about the appearance, now let’s talk about the attitude.

Time management

Of course, you can’t be late for an interview, but being too early can also be detrimental to you, even if you think you are doing the right thing.

Why? Because a person who is too early can give the impression of being someone who can neither manage time nor stress and therefore raise a red flag.

If being well in advance reassures you, no problem. Just wait in a coffee shop outside and come for the interview 10 minutes beforehand.

Cordiality

1. When you enter the interview room, wait before you sit down until the recruiter suggests it. Sitting down before the recruiter’s suggestion might be perceived as rude, or careless.

2. Do not interrupt the recruiter. Sometimes we are so eager to bounce back on an element that our enthusiasm pushes us towards rudeness.

So, we must always let the recruiter finish their sentences. Be in an active posture but with attentive listening.

3. When there are several interlocutors, do not forget to look them all in the eye. Often, one leads the exchange but you must give as much importance to all.

4. Smile, smile, smile, smile! I can only overemphasize this crucial element; the smile plays a major role in creating the famous bond we talked about. So… cheese!! 🙂

Professionalism

Please, I am begging you, take some notes!!!

When I was working in Human Resources, 90% of the candidates would not take notes when doing so would’ve made a big difference!

Taking notes underlines your seriousness, your professionalism, your rigor, your organization, and beyond sending a good image, the notes you will take will be useful for the famous post-interview email!

So, a pen, a notebook and let’s write!

I sincerely hope that all these tips will help you get the most out of the interview exercise!

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Marion
Marion
2 years ago

Thanks for this article, I will be graduated soon and that kind of tips will be really useful 😉

Corina
Corina
1 year ago

Thank you for the mention 🙂