New Idea - Nail that job interview, Michelle Gibbings, Change Meridian

I was asked recently by the people at New Idea for my tips on nailing a job interview. The judgements that interviewers make about you at first glance are likely to influence their thinking throughout the interview, so creating a great first impression is important! This is just one of my tips to help you get the job you want.

The full article first appeared here on the New Idea website.

First impressions really do count

The judgements interviewers make about you at first glance are likely to influence their thinking throughout the interview, so those initial moments are important.

Michelle Gibbings, change leadership and career expert, and author of Step Up: How To Build Your Influence At Work (michellegibbings. com) has a surefire four-point strategy for making a good first impression.

‘Smile – be engaging and friendly, offer a firm handshake but not an iron grip, dress neatly and professionally, and always be on time for the interview,’ she says.

Do your research

It’s a given that employers prefer to hire people with a sincere desire to work for them.

‘They want people who understand their business and want to be a part of enabling success,’ says Karen Gately, a leadership and people-management specialist, and founder of HR Consultancy Ryan Gately (

‘The more you understand about the industry and organisation, the more likely you are to be
able to demonstrate readiness to take on the challenges of the role.’

Read up as much as you can on the business and their key personnel. Research will always get you far.

Believe you are right for the job

According to Michelle, you’ll only convince the interviewer you are the right person for the job if you believe it yourself.

‘If you don’t have conviction that you can do the job well, then the people interviewing you will see your disbelief,’ she says.

Having conviction starts with being clear on the skills and competencies they are looking for, and where you match.

‘Talk about specific scenarios in which you have demonstrated certain skills or achieved particular outcomes and share any insights you may have into challenges you have faced and overcome,’ says Michelle.

What are your weaknesses?

It’s the question we all dread, so how do you answer it without sounding rehearsed?‘The best you can do is be honest and list the things you still want to learn or get better at,’ says Karen.

‘Reflecting on your development needs is a far more useful way of thinking about it, so rather than saying: “I can at times be disorganised,” instead say, “At the moment my priority is developing stronger project management skills. I want to get better at managing the multiple priorities I typically deal with.” ’

According to Karen you need to leave the interviewer with the impression that you are constantly learning and open to how you can improve yourself.