What happens in an interview

Make an impression from “hello” to “goodbye”: what happens in a typical interview

You’ve overcome the first hurdle and have been invited to an interview. What you have to do now is present yourself in your best light from start to finish. With these tips, you will use every moment of your interview to demonstrate your competencies.


The start of the interview: first impressions count

An interview starts with a greeting. Often it’s decided in the first few seconds whether you have a chance of getting the job. Smile, be open and say thank you for the invitation. Avoid saying anything about a difficult journey or the bad weather. If you are offered something to drink, you should say thank you and accept. Unusual special requests make a bad impression; alcoholic drinks should always be turned down.

The right answer to every question? Here’s how!

This is a really important tip for your interview: prepare carefully. Make sure you’re informed about the company and think about what questions you might be asked and how you would answer confidently. Go through the interview in your mind. Be prepared to be asked to say a little bit about yourself or to summarise your CV. Often human resources managers will ask you in the interview why you’re interested in the job, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what you like to do in your spare time. If you already know what you would like to say, you’ll keep the conversation flowing.

Clock up points and be likeable in the interview

The human resources manager will tell you about the company. Be interested and show, for example with the occasional polite question, that you're listening attentively. If you follow the tips for making a good impression with your body language in the interview, you’ll get some extra points. For example, use eye contact and a slightly leaned-in posture to show interest and make you likeable.
In the later part of the interview, you might be given the opportunity to ask questions yourself. Use this chance. For example, ask for more details about the company and the job you're going for. You’re better off not asking what your chances are or if you’ve made a good impression during the interview, because this demonstrates insecurity.

The final close to the conversation: leave a lasting impression

Even when the actual interview is already over, you can still really shine. Say thank you for the interesting talk. You can also ask politely when you should expect an answer. If the human resources manager can’t tell you, don't push it. If someone accompanies you out, demonstrate your social competency with a little small talk, for example about your journey or the weather. If you follow these tips in your interview, you are guaranteed to leave a good impression.