So you've got this far, you've secured an interview for that job! Whilst the thought of an interview initially sends many jobseekers into a blind panic, we’re here to tell you not to worry. Interviewing is a skill like any other; and like other skills, it takes hard work, commitment and knowledge to accomplish. To help you come out on top, we have compiled 10 interviewing tips to help you sail through and get you that job!
The importance of research before your interview cannot be stressed enough. The number of candidates that don’t research the company they have an interview with, or the interviewer themselves, is astonishing. By simply taking a bit of time to research what the company does, their core values as a business and any recent news about them – all of which can usually be found on their website - can really put you ahead of the game.
Even though you may have written your CV or application for this job a while back, re-reading through the tailored CV that you used, and the job description will provide you with a great starting point to prepare ahead of your interview. Whilst your CV has got you the interview, it’s key that you are prepared to answer competency based interview questions such as: “Can you demonstrate a time where you solved a difficult situation” or “Give an example where you have effectively worked in a team”. Questions like this are not aimed to catch you out or put you on the spot, rather to enable you to showcase your skills and a time where you have used this skill. Knowing what the employer is looking for (from the job description) and knowing examples of where you have demonstrated certain competencies (from your CV), you will be able to answer such questions clearly and confidently.
3. Dress to impress
They say that you have 7 seconds to make a first impression and within this precious time, your appearance will be one of the initial things an employer will notice. In an interview, it is always better to be too smart than too causal; you can’t go wrong with a smart black or blue suit and well-polished shoes, even if the company accepts informal dress. You would be wise to prepare your outfit at least the day before so you are well prepared and don’t have a rush the morning of the interview, which could make you late.
4. Don’t be late!
Talking of being late…don’t be! If you arrive late, you will more than likely be flustered and will start the interview on the back foot, which could impede your delivery and confidence. Plan your journey and if possible, do a dry run. We’d also suggest to allow extra time to get there; you don’t want to be caught out by traffic or any train delays. If you are going to be late to your interview, call up the employer and apologise, they will appreciate you getting in touch and letting them know.
5. The all-important handshake
So you've arrived and you’re just about to meet the person who will be interviewing you. Although it may seem old-fashioned to some, for many employers a handshake can tell a lot about the person they are interviewing. Never underestimate the value of a good confident and firm handshake. Obviously, there is a balance to be struck; steer clear of crushing bones but also avoid limp fish.
6. Body language
It’s not necessarily just what you say that people pick up on, body language is a huge part of social interaction. As you want to give the best impression possible in your interview, your body language must match your spoken communication. Poor body language such as slouching and crossing your arms can give the employer that you’re disinterested; making you memorable for all of the wrong reasons. Sitting up straight and good eye contact (although don’t stare them out) are positive signs showing you are engaged and interested.
7. Be Positive!
No interviewer wants to hear how you don’t get on with your current boss and how much you dislike your job, if that is the case; remain positive about your reasons for looking for a new job. Whether it be that you’re looking for a new company in a different industry, or you want to develop additional skills to progress in your career, try to be forward-thinking and focus on your ambition to succeed.
8. Show and Tell!
Depending on the job you are applying for, having a portfolio of your previous work can be an eye-opener to employers and shows real initiative. If you’re looking for a design job or a job in advertising, for example, taking along examples of your work can really put into context your skills and abilities that you say you have.
9. Any Questions?
An interview is a 2-way street. Whilst the employer will be asking you about your skills and experience, it is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the job and the company. At the end of an interview, be prepared to ask some questions to show your interest and your enthusiasm. If you prepare between 10-15 questions, you will find that the majority of these will be answered within the interview itself. Try to aim for 5 questions about the company plus another 5 about the job itself.
10. After the interview…
Even though you may just want to forget about the interview as soon as you've stepped out of the building, actually reflecting on the interview and questions that you felt you answered well, or perhaps not so well, can really help with your interview technique. Remember, interviewing is a skill, and to become proficient, sometimes it can take practice. The next day, you could email the interviewers to thank them for their time, and the opportunity. If you have any burning questions that you forgot to say the previous day, now is the time to ask. However, don’t pester; recruiting is a time consuming process for a lot of companies and they may not have the time to respond straight away. If unfortunately you’re not successful, you are more than entitled to ask for feedback to evaluate if there are areas that you need to work on. One of the main things to remember in an interview is to be yourself; as cliché as that sounds! The employer already believes you can do the job, which is why you have got the interview in the first place! What they are trying to find out is a bit more about your skills and experience, how enthusiastic you are and how well you’d fit into the company culture.
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