How to Start a Job Interview as the Interviewee

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Posted by: David Garcia

Topics: Human Resources, Recruitment

The job search process can be long and grueling, but it all pays off when you finally start getting requests to come in for interviews. 

Interviews can mean the difference between a promising new opportunity or a rejection email — you need to put your best foot forward.

But if you walk into the interview room and don’t make a good first impression before the interviewer can even get to the question stage, it doesn't look good. The hiring manager will take note. 

The way an interview begins can impact how the entire assessment will proceed. Even though the interviewer has the upper hand in knowing what questions they will ask, control isn't entirely out of your hands. 

Here are tips on starting a job interview so that you can land your dream job. 

What to Prepare Before the Interview

A successful start to an interview is about setting yourself up for success before the big day. Follow these steps to equip yourself. 

Research the Company

Before preparing a cover letter, you should thoroughly research a company. Industry analysts estimate between 70%-90% of all job applications get immediately rejected.

One of the main reasons for these rejections is a lack of research. An applicant who didn't properly research the company is a red flag for employers. 

Research matters from what company you're applying to and why. It lets you (and the prospective employer) gauge how suited your experience is to the role and how you showcase that experience.

Once you finally get called in for an interview, you need to have an adequate understanding of the company. 

Show the hiring team that you're not looking for a job — you're looking for this job.

Analyze Comparable Roles in the Industry

On average, 118 people on average apply for open positions. only 20% of those will get a callback for an interview, and only 38% of those will receive an offer.

Researching the particulars of the position may give you a head start against other applicants. 

You'll know what to ask for and how to evaluate offers, and you'll impress with your insider expertise.

Practice Answers to Popular Interview Questions

What are your biggest weaknesses? What do you bring to the table? What's an example of when a work situation tested your skills, and how did you react?

Job interview questions like these are cliché. But they're cliche’ because they're popular, and they're popular because they get at information that hiring teams need to know.

Are you self-aware and working on yourself? Do you know your strengths? What do you bring that a hiring manager can't find in the next person?

Don't underestimate the power of delivering a spectacular answer to a generic question. Think of it this way: employers hear the same three responses to their same three questions all the time. Stand out by demonstrating preparedness and inventiveness with a decisive answer.

Internalize Language from the Job Post

Employers spend a lot of time crafting job posts. and often hire external firms to prepare job posts to accurately reflect the position’s requirements.

Show recruiters that you respect the effort they're putting into the candidate search by devoting thoughtfulness and care to your job search. Utilize language from the job post and even share your thoughts on it.

4 Steps on How to Properly Start a Job Interview for Interviewees

1. Arrive Early

Punctuality is a no-brainer. Don't just get there on time; get there early. Employers have walkouts and no-shows all the time. If you're there early after a no-show, you may be able to have more time for your interview.

That's ten more minutes you can take to show off why you’re a good fit for the position.

2. Sit Straight and Maintain Eye Contact

The research shows that making a good first impression really does count. You have to nail the first ten minutes of meeting prospective employers by dressing professionally and arriving early. 

But beyond the first instance when you walk into the interview room, your behavior continues to reflect the kind of applicant you are. Two things that people often overlook are sitting up straight and maintaining eye contact. 

Sitting up straight demonstrates respect for the situation. It shows you don't favor comfort over seriousness. Prospective employers will imagine you sitting in rooms with clients and executives and want you to work as hard to impress as they do.

Eye contact shows a resoluteness of character that will demonstrate your excellent work ethic. It shows you meet challenges head-on and aren't afraid to engage directly.

3. Share your References and Work Samples 

Come to interviews prepared with a folder of relevant materials. Print out copies of your resume—at least ten. Sometimes, interviews consist of executives, members of the hiring team, the lead in the department you'll be a part of, supervisors, and even an intern or two taking notes. 

Hand out resumes to all present, and also bring handouts of references. If it's relevant to your line of work, provide work samples. Don't just say that your marketing campaign brought in the highest earnings in any third quarter for the past decade. Show them the numbers.

4. Introduce Yourself and Build Rapport

Once you've sat down and shared your materials, introduce yourself. A common mistake job applicants make is jumping immediately into a self-sales pitch. 

They know you want the job. Show how deserving you are; don't tell. Build rapport to model what it would be like to work with you.

Get the Job You Deserve

Searching for the right position is not about landing any job you can get — it's about landing the job you deserve. Nailing that interview is only the beginning - but it’s essential. 

With ScoutLogic, employers can find truly deserving candidates faster than ever. Our dedicated Scout Service model will have you spend less time on background checks and more time recruiting. Your Scout will operate as an extension of your team on hand to customize employment background checks and provide proactive updates.

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