Tips: How To Nail an Interview with the Best First Impression

At The Merit Club, we know that now and again we may need a prompt in the right direction to boost our confidence, channel our mindsets, and get us in a more productive zone for self-improvement. Self-help tips are not meant to be ground-breaking. First and foremost, we believe self-help tips should be accessible; so obvious to the point that you realise, why on earth have I not been thinking like this before!

Interviews can be incredibly daunting, but they also offer an exciting opportunity to push yourself forward and shine. Channel all that nervous energy and adrenaline into positivity and confidence to make sure you make the best first impression you possibly can. 

Practise a personal narrative

They've read your CV and now you need to bring it to life. No one's career paths are the same, and for good reason too. Different jobs are what make you unique and each experience, even if it may not seem the most relevant to the job in question, will have taught you skills and given you the chance to develop as an individual. In many interview scenarios, first up you'll be asked how you have got to where you are today. You don't want to be leaving out any significant details. Yet, you don't want it to sound like you are reciting your CV. Strike that balance between getting to the point and not rambling, while selling yourself and your skills, and also creating a personal narrative - own it. 


That brings us to personality. Don't be afraid to have some fun. Be expressive. Be engaging. An interview may seem like an unnatural situation when the pressure and nerves kick in, but it should also be a conversation. Yes you have to be professional - y0u don't want to appear over-bearing and too chatty - but equally a potential employer will want to see how you will potentially fit into their team and engage with other people.


Following this, if you really do want the job, don't shy away from expressing this. Show how passionate you are about the role and the opportunities it will bring. For example, it's important to have some questions prepared that you'd like to ask them at the end. There's nothing more flat to end an interview than not engaging with your interviewer and not wanting to know more about the company, role, or what challenges it will bring you.  


This one's simple. Don't be late! For one, arriving at the last minute is a sure fast way to make you flustered and less focused. And you also want your potential employer to know that you are efficient.


Preparing for an interview doesn't have to take hours, but will instantly make you feel more confident and will help you out under the pressure. Even if they throw a curve ball question at you that you weren't expecting, you will be able to draw from something you have prepared far more readily. You're not going to know the company inside out if you haven't worked there before, but make sure you're clued up on things like their values, their team and news which you can engage with. 


You're bound to be asked what are your weaknesses. It's a classic interview question. So make sure you have an answer up your sleeve that you can turn into a positive, but make sure you come up with something original! There is nothing worst for an interviewer, than hear the same 'I'm a perfectionist' answer and you can be sure it won't earn you any more points.


Another classic question is to show an example of where you have been presented with a problem and have had to fix it. Have at least three of these examples ready! You don't want to seem like you're reading from a script. You've got to be real. But why make life harder for yourself by not thinking about these in advance.  


Don't be afraid to take a breath and pause if you need to. Far better to gather your thoughts than blast out a random answer!


Knowing your stuff will give you that punchy edge. Identifying your strengths, as we talk about in our previous post, won't make you seem arrogant, it will make you stand out and show that you are in control. Think about your own personal USP and why they should hire you over anyone else. You want to leave the interview feeling that you have given it your absolute all so end it on a punchy and powerful high.