From an interviewees point of view, preparation is the key to making the right impression. Interview skills can be coached and if you feel your performance at interview isn’t a true reflection of you and your abilities then working with a career coach on this aspect of your job search can make the difference between landing the job or not.
Interviews are not the place for modesty, but equally, employers are not drawn to braggers and blaggers. It is about being the best version of yourself and remaining authentic. You need to know your offering and be comfortable talking factually about your achievements and what you can bring to an employer. Any statements you make should be capable of being evidenced, ideally from an independent source and if at all possible documented.
For example, if you have been commended and put forward for an award, take a copy of the commendation or certificate to the interview. Having a record of all your achievements in one place with documents in support, sometimes unflatteringly called a brag file, is a useful resource to have and merely putting a folder like this together can remind you of what you have achieved. Once you have done this, make sure you use it appropriately during the interview. There is no need to walk the interviewer through every piece of paper starting with a school swimming certificate, but being able to highlight a relevant career achievement and show documented evidence at interview, not only demonstrates your capabilities but also highlights an organised approach and how serious you are taking the interview.
It’s important to remember that the interview is a two-way process and is your opportunity to find out whether you feel the role and the company are right for you. It also gives you the chance to impress by displaying your knowledge about the organisation and asking intelligent questions. Always have some pre-prepared questions about what is important to you. Questions like: What is it like to work here? How can I impress you in the first three months? What are the biggest challenges I will face in my first three months? What, if anything, would you change in the organisation?