When you start applying for graduate jobs, you’ll quickly realise there are more types of interview than you can shake your beleaguered CV at. Telephone interviews, Skype interviews, group interviews, there are truckloads of them, but we’re going to look at the most conventional form of interview – or at least the first one that springs to mind when someone tells you that you’ve got an interview: the face-to-face interview.
No place to hide…
As with any interview, preparation is key. Make sure you’ve checked out our top tips for interview preparation. The key obvious difference with face-to-face interviews, as compared to a telephone interview, is that the interviewer can see you. So make sure you use that to your advantage. This means spending some time on what you are going to wear. If you look the part (and feel good), it will give you that crucial boost of confidence to handle any tricky interview questions that might be thrown at you.
Of course, it’s not just about looking the part. Face-to-face interviews are a chance to demonstrate your confidence and fantastic communication skills. The key thing is to maintain eye contact with the interviewer. If this feels unnatural, concentrate on the space between their eyes just above their eyebrows. A lack of eye contact not only makes you look insecure, but it also makes the interviewer feel uncomfortable.
Make sure you are sitting up; slouching with your arms crossed won’t exactly make you look like a model employee. Paying a little bit of attention to your body language won’t necessarily make them hire you on the spot, but it’ll certainly help. Looking alert and interested goes a long way. It also wouldn’t hurt to be aware of a few interview techniques too.
Frankie says relax…
Above all, relax. The thing about face-to-face interviews is that it’s pretty easy to pick up on the visual indicators of nervousness. Breathe easy and try to relax. Try to slow down your speech, hide your jittery hands underneath the table and, most importantly, smile. If interviews make you work up a nervous sweat, then it might be worth reading our interview nerves article for some pointers.
So, all in all, it’s all about looking smart, feeling confident, preparing well and making eye contact with the interviewer. Face-to-Face interviews are a great way of creating a more personable impression of yourself and they allow the interviewer to really get a sense of the person behind the CV.