Over the last eighteen years I have spoken to thousands of people who have interviewed for jobs in numerous countries. Regardless of culture, industry or role, the following six things will make an impact:
1. Research - the business and the person you are meeting. Do look at the company and interviewer's website, their LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, Instagram, twitter, YouTube and other social media. The best research, when you are interviewing for a consumer goods company is to go into a store - whether physical or online - see their products and even buy them to gain deeper insights.
2. Cheerfulness - you will only be hired if people like you. Smile, maintain appropriate eye contact and enjoy the interview. If you have ever been rejected due to "cultural fit" - it is most likely because the person you met doesn't like spending time in your company. Do not complain about your partner, boss or even the weather. "I am looking to work within a growing, innovative business where I am passionate about the products" sounds a lot better than "My company is stagnating, my boss micro manages me and I have no enthusiasm for what they do!" Be positive, cheerful and passionate.
3. Curiosity - ask lots of questions. Ask about the business: this shows enthusiasm, shows that you care, that you are capable of critical thinking and enables you to decide whether you would like to work there. Ask about the role and also ask about the boss. The person or people you will be working with will have a significant impact on your success, happiness and motivation in your next role. Do not ask administrative questions such as salary, working hours or how many days annual leave. A good recruiter will find this out for you and negotiate on your behalf. If you do not have a recruiter working with you, these questions can be clarified if an offer is made.
4. Listening - listen both to what the interviewer is asking you and what the reason is for the question. Ensure that you answer both. A big mistake is to simply answer at face value; a bigger mistake would be to not answer the question at all.
5. Respond - but don't ask about salary - do not ask about money but if the interviewer asks you, state factually what you - earn or earned - include any additional benefits that are significant including bonuses. If pressed on what you are looking for, state that you are open to offers or give a range, eg, "I am considering offers paying between x and y but my decision will not be based on salary alone.”
6. Gratitude – thank the interviewer for their time and let them know you are interested in the role before you leave. Follow up with a short email. Never send long rambling follow up messages that can sound desperate but send a short email giving thanks, briefly sharing why you like the role, why you are suitable and ask for feedback.