Looking for a new job can be stressful at the best of times, and a lot of people get understandably nervous before that all-important job interview. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what each interview is going to entail, there are plenty of ways that you can make sure you prepare as much as possible.

Here are some of the top tips that recruitment agencies offer their candidates to get them ready to impress!

First impressions count

The first seven seconds of interacting with you speaks volumes, and can really color the interviewer’s overall perception of you as a suitable candidate. If you present an approachable, friendly and confident image, you’ve already won the first battle! Remember that sometimes the person interviewing you is nervous too, so if you look relaxed and instantly easy to get along with, you’ll put both parties more at ease.

Experienced interviewers develop a knack for taking stock of a candidate quickly too, so you’ve really got to put those first few moments to good use. Act confident and relaxed, even if you don’t really feel it. Give them a big smile, a warm, firm handshake, make direct eye contact and introduce yourself in an upbeat tone. You can even practice with a friend or family member beforehand if you know you struggle at this crucial point.

It goes without saying that arriving late is an instant blemish on that first impression, so make sure you can get to the interview ahead of time, have a few minutes to visit the rest room and check your outfit, and take a few deep breaths!

Do your homework on the company

Nothing conveys more professionalism than a candidate who has come in well-prepared and familiarized themselves with what the company does and what they stand for. At some point the interviewer will probably ask you if you have any questions, so have a clever and thoughtful question ready that shows you have a genuine interest in the company and their products or services.

Spend some time going over your CV and seeing what skills you have that they will find most useful. It can also be immensely helpful to remind yourself of the job description and skills they were looking for in their original job advert. This is like a cheat sheet of skills that you can highlight during the interview to make sure you check all their boxes!

“Tell me about yourself”

Understandably, this is a question many candidates dread, and it can really throw you off if you don’t have an answer prepared. Give a few interesting personal details, and highlight a few achievements and any qualifications relevant to the position. If there’s one answer you practice and practice beforehand, this should be it.

Practice confident body language:

Exuding confidence just seems to come naturally to some people, but many of us have to actively work on it! Start by becoming more conscious of what you’re doing and saying with your body in everyday life, and get honest with yourself about habits that might be distracting or make you look like you’re really uncomfortable. Not making eye contact, shrinking into yourself like you’re trying to hide away and lowering your voice definitely don’t scream confidence.

Practice placing your hands on the table in front of you, sitting up straight or even leaning back in your chair slightly, (remember you’re not on the beach, though!) making polite eye contact with a smile on your face and answering questions slowly and clearly. Do this enough, and it really will start to become natural.

Show them who you are:

They’ve already read your resume and found you suitable enough for the role to invite you to interview. What they want to find out now is if you’d also be a pleasant person to work with and fit in socially with the rest of the team. Don’t try and stifle your personality, let it shine through while still remaining professional.

Follow up after the interview:

Within 24 hours, make sure to send a polite thank you email to the person who interviewed you. If you forgot to mention something important, this is a good opportunity to do so. Remember that the person who conducted the interview will likely have to sell you to their superiors too, and making this small effort can really motivate them to put in an extra good word for you!

Another excellent way of earning some brownie points is to keep an eye on the company’s social media pages, and give them a like or a positive comment to keep you on their radar.

Follow all these steps, and you can rest assured that you put your best foot forward!