How to Pass a Selection Interview and Get the Job

Interview of a person by the Air Force Office ...
Interview of a person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy day, you have a job interview and the time and date of the appointment is determined. You have researched the company, reread the job description of the position you applied for, and have tried to anticipate the questions you will be asked to have answers ready at hand. Now you are thinking how to make a great first impression with verbal and nonverbal communication skills. You are thinking how to highlight your strengths while hiding or at least minimizing your weaknesses.

First impressions are extremely important because the first moments in our encounters with others have the potential to influence the perception of us that follow and the decisions others make on the strength of these first impressions. In selection interviews/job interviews these first impressions tend to be very powerful with lasting effect on the final decision of whether we get the job or not. Therefore we must manage this part of the job interview successfully. For this part of our image management we begin at home before we set off to the interview. Personal appearance, being appropriately dressed, is the first step in creating the first positive impression. This may seem superficial in today’s culture of casual attire but poor personal appearance is the leading cause for failure to get the job. Professional personal appearance begins with proper clothing, usually a classic style suit for men and a conservative style dress for women.Good grooming and tasteful jewelry complement this assemble. It has been noted that women have been more successful in being hired when they appear at the interview wearing a tailored suit. Even though the real workplace may encourage a more casual style of clothing it has always been a good rule of thumb to dress for the position two levels above the one you are applying for.

When you arrive on time at the interview site have direct eye contact and a firm handshake with whomever greets you. Make great first impressions by being courteous with secretaries, receptionists, and others because these may be asked for their perceptions as a part of the selection process. While the interview is taking place eye contact, energy, expressiveness, vocal variety, and fluent vocabulary will have a positive effect on the impression you make.

The next import ant part of the interview is actually answering the questions asked by the interviewer. Listen carefully to the question being asked so you do not misinterpret it. You do not want to give a wrong answer to the questions asked. If you are unsure what the interviewer is asking politely ask for clarification of the question before answering. Make the answers organized and specific to the question. If possible highlight your past achievements or use of skills when you do answer. Present yourself in the best possible light with every answer. You will be asked about your weaknesses so mention them but end with placing them in a positive light. For example if you mention your weakness is you are impatient finish it by saying you work harder because of this, or if you mention you procrastinate end it by saying because of this weakness you have imposed strict deadlines on yourself and are very attentive to details.

Be honest with all your answers but use your verbal skills to highlight positive points and turn negative points into a positive trait.

When asked if you have any questions make certain that you have researched the company and have ready questions with you. This will show that you are a person with knowledge about the company, having long-range goals, and an eagerness to know more about the work. Examples of good questions are to ask about the company’s plans for international expansion, or if I were to take this position, would there be opportunities to get leadership skills through supervisory responsibilities. Do not ask about vacations or possibilities for advancement.

End the interview effectively with a handshake, smile, and a thank you for the interview. Express interest in the position, and offer a very brief summary about yourself. When you get home write a brief letter to the interviewer thanking them for considering you for the position and the opportunity to present yourself at the interview. Summarize your strengths and qualities that would make you a match for the needs of the company.


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