back to xpand blog

8 Steps To A Great Interview

31st Jul 2014


Our job is a lot like match making, we match candidates to companies based on personality, work ethic, skills and interests. A lot of work goes into simply getting you, the candidate, in front of our clients and business partners. Like proud parents on their childs first day of school, we then prep you as best as we can for your first interview. ALWAYS arrive 10 minutes early, make sure you’re prepared and know where you’re going. You don’t want to be panicking 2 minutes before the scheduled time because you can’t find the specific building you’re going to. Being in a flap (or in Singapore, sweating profusely from rushing around) can be off putting and the pressure will be on you to recover after that poor first impression. Whether you are interviewing for a position through an Xpand Consultant or not, everyone can benefit from these tips. We’re not guaranteeing you the job, but we are guiding you to run a smooth and positive meeting!

1. Research

It may sound really obvious, but do your research! This doesn’t mean simply Googling the company name and reading their “About Us” page. Take a look at the past and present employees on LinkedIn, especially those you’ll be interviewing with. Have a feel for how long they’ve stayed in the company, whether they’ve progressed, where they may have moved to next. Take a look at the social media pages for a feel of their culture and the language the company uses.

2. Body language and appearance

Whether you’ve got bad posture or not… do try to sit upright. Try not to touch your hair, your face, or be too distracting with your hand movements. Think about how you appear to the other person, and take hints from their body language. If they’re sat back in a chair with their legs crossed, it’s your turn to relax a little bit! Make sure you’re suitably dressed. Think about the company values, their culture and ask your Consultant how they think you should dress.

3. Built rapport

We’re not saying go to your interview dressed as a clown, but do try to be memorable. Be personable! Address them clearly by name when being introduced and give them a firm handshake. Maintain eye contact when speaking with your interviewer and try to make a connection. Mention interesting snippets of your life, give them an indication of your personality so they can gauge the type of person you are. Even if you are interviewing on Skype, look at the camera and not at the screen. No one will refer to you as “the woman in the grey shirt with a first class honours degree”, but it might be something like “the guy who spent a year teaching scuba diving in Malaysia”.

4. Be likeable

Following on from the previous point, make sure you’re likeable. Try not to sound negative and avoid situations where you’re saying “no” or “I don’t”. Turn them into positive experiences instead. It pays to smile, so be courteous and friendly to everyone you meet. You’d be surprised at how many candidates are declined because they were unfriendly to the Receptionist. Conversely it can be surprisingly helpful to have a Receptionist tell your potential Manager how nice you seemed. We’re not trying to get you to pretend to be someone else, just be yourself but the best version of yourself you can be! Remember, people buy from people and chemistry is a key factor in the hiring process.

5. Be ready for the unexpected

I’m sure you’ve all heard at some point the many standard questions asked by interviewers, so make sure you have some strong examples from your own experiences. Prepare some scenarios around project work, deadlines, leadership examples etc. It does of course depend on the role. Don’t be afraid to say, “Can I have a few seconds to think about that?” as the last thing you want to do is ramble on without directly answering the question!

6. Highlight your key offerings

You’ve read the job brief, you’ve done your research. Make sure you sell yourself! Identify the key areas in which you are great for this role, and what other immediate skills you can offer the company. It could be anything, if the company is about to embark on a big office move, perhaps you have assisted with one in the past? It doesn’t need to be directly related to the role, but employers will appreciate the enthusiasm and commitment you’re offering.

7. Ask questions

One of the most awkward times in an interview is at the end when the interviewer asks “Do you have any questions?” and your answer is “Nope!” Make sure you prepare some answers – of course, only ask them if they haven’t already been covered! Structure questions that allude to you being successful in the process. “What is expected of me in the first 60 to 90 days?” or a simple one “What are the next steps in the interviewing process?” which at the same time implies you are keen to progress! Try to avoid questions about salary as this sometimes sends the wrong message.

8. Follow up

Leave it a day, and then send a polite follow up email. Perhaps you could reiterate some points discussed in your conversation, or share articles you touched on. Highlight again your interest in the role without sounding overbearing! You don’t want to burn any bridges for future opportunities.

Don't forget to refer to our general interview tips and also some great things to consider when writing your resume!