We all aspire to that dream job and breeze through the interview process. Getting the CV to catch the prospective employer’s attention and creating the good first impression at the interview is only the job half done. Many experts agree that first 5 minutes of the interview determine the course of an interview.

To start with, tailor your CV to the job and spell-check thoroughly. Having a suitable covering letter is essential and make sure that the grammar is checked. Checking information about you online is something that most potential employers do these days. Make sure you do not have anything on social media that could be detrimental to your job prospects.

During the interview, if you know something that is specific to the company that demonstrates that you are well informed but it doesn’t come up in the questioning, try to bring this up, even if it is at the end. If you have unexplained gaps in your CV, interviewers may find it strange and think that you were unemployed or worse, can assume things about these unexplained gaps that can prove detrimental to your application. So, have a response ready and do not lie. Including items on your CV that you cannot evidence when asked about these during the interview, for example, claiming you did something but when questioned, interviewers realise that your subordinates or colleagues actually did it will create very bad impressions about you. Listing personal details is acceptable if a job requires this information, but do not make it too long and personal. Chewing gum or anything else during the interview or smelling of smoke or alcohol, untidy, scruffy clothes, messy hair will all create a negative first impression.

LSC Connect conducted a quick poll on the Do’s and Dont’s of interviews with staff and alumni.

The Top 5 Dos are:

  1. Be punctual
  2. Be smartly dressed and well presented
  3. Ask intelligent questions
  4. Provide confident, direct responses
  5. Maintain eye contact and present a pleasant demeanour

In addition to the top 5 listed above, other useful tips from the poll include:

  1. Prepare a selection of strengths and weaknesses and adapt them as the interview progresses. Admit to minor weaknesses, but say what you are doing to overcome them.
  2. Research the organisation where you are to be interviewed.
  3. Demonstrate you have conducted research about the organisation and are fully prepared for the interview.
  4. Update your LinkedIn profile and have an appropriate profile picture.
  5. Have an email address that is professional.

The Top 5 Don’ts are:

  1. Make unrealistic salary demands
  2. Be a patronising ‘Yes’ person
  3. Make claims which you can’t substantiate
  4. Be long-winded in your responses
  5. Just talk about yourself

In addition to these, some other interview responses can be ‘turn offs’ and are definite ‘no-nos’. The 5 most annoying responses are:

  1. Say, “I see myself in your role in five years’ time”.
  2. Demand unrealistic work arrangements (unless your experience and market value justify it).
  3. Ask questions about holidays, bonuses or other perks. They will be outlined later and you will not look as if all you are interested in is money!
  4. Dodge questions and responding vaguely.
  5. Look bored or distracted.

And finally don’t forget to thank them afterwards for spending time to interview you.