Congratulations, you’ve made it to the final hurdle!
Fine tuning your CV and cover letter has paid off and you’ve been invited in for an interview at a fantastic organisation.
Now you have to make the organisation see that you are exactly what they’re looking for.
Here are some tips to help you leave a great impression before, during and after your interview.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you go into an interview without any knowledge of the organisation that you’ve applied for, then you will be in trouble. Charities want more from you than an impressive set of skills. They want people that are in tune with their values and can represent what they stand for.
Do your research, thoroughly. Look at their latest campaigns, become familiar with their cause, find your interviewer on LinkedIn and speak to people that have any connections with the charity. The more you know, the more confident you will feel the moment that you step into the room.
Over 70% of employers have rejected candidates based on their social media activity. With this in mind, you should really take the time to think about what you’re sharing online. Interviewers don’t want to see negative comments about your previous employer, inappropriate photographs or any bad language. So make sure that your timeline has been cleaned up!
This doesn’t mean that you have to zero your online presence (in some cases, this can be more damaging than effective), it just means that you should be mindful.
Appearance matters. Make sure that your outfit is smart and that you look professional but comfortable. The interview starts as soon as you walk into the office where your appearance will be judged as much as your speech. You don’t have to turn up to every interview in a shiny new suit, but choose an outfit that immediately tells them that you want the job.
Answering a question nanoseconds after it has been asked is not the most productive way to articulate yourself. Interviews are meant to be challenging so there’s nothing wrong with feeling nervous or slightly off guard. If you find yourself stuck, pause and take a moment to think your answer through. You’re much more likely to produce a memorable answer with a clear mind so use this to your advantage.
The interviewer isn’t the only person who should be asking questions. You should always have a few of your own questions ready to prove that you’re interested in the organisation and the position. This is the perfect chance to show just how much you care about the charity and their cause. Try and prepare three to five questions that will allow you to get a greater insight into their objectives. But also improvise and ask a question, or two, on the back of any information you’ve just heard.
Check out these suggestions:
Most importantly of all, you need to show the interviewer real passion for their cause. Perhaps you have a personal connection to the cause, or your interest arose through a fascinating book or documentary. Whatever the reason, make sure you explain what part you would like to play in helping the organisation really achieve their aims.
A great way to show your passion is to come to your interview bursting with ideas. As a relative outsider to the organisation, you will have a slightly different perspective to your interviewer. This gives you a great opportunity to share your ‘out of the box’ suggestions. It will show the interviewer your enthusiasm for their work, and prove you will hit the ground running should you be selected!
Be creative! If you’re confident in a particular topic, get ready to show off your ideas in a Powerpoint presentation, a cool video, or whatever medium you prefer. The organisation will really value your input, and recognise your research and effort.
Don’t let your interview be the last time that they hear from you. Following up allows you to stand out from the other candidates and express exactly why you want the job. Send a thank you email shortly after your interview and if you still haven’t heard from them a week or so later. Use this as your last chance to touch base with the interviewer and leave the perfect impression.
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