The interview is the final hurdle between you and job success. Whether you’re a super confident interviewee or a nervous wreck here are 6 key tips that’ll help you rise to the top of the class!
One of the things we’ve noticed from years of putting candidates forward for interviews is that those who are most nervous have often prepared the least. Whilst some nerves are necessary to keep you on your toes, blind panic is often your brain’s way of telling you that you haven’t done enough prep!
Start off by researching the company to find out exactly what they do. Then take a good look at the role and job requirements and come up with some examples that showcase your relevant experience. With some pre-prepared examples you’ll feel a lot calmer about your upcoming interview and you’ll be ready to impress.
- Dress appropriately
First impressions count! Candidates often underdress for interviews but in our opinion it’s always best to go smart, unless the employers specifically asked you to dress ‘smart casual’. Give yourself a bit of time the night before to iron your clothes and polish your shoes to ensure that you look the best on the day.
When dressing to impress it’s easy to go overboard on the aftershave, perfume, jewellery or make-up, though remember that understated is always more appealing than over the top! If you can, try and get an idea of the sort of dress code expected by viewing online profiles of current staff at that employer, or walking past their premises during a lunch time!
- Allow plenty of travel time to get there, park and find reception
If you’re not sure how to get there it’s often a good idea to do a dry-run. That way you’ll know how long it takes to get there and if you’re driving, where you’ll be able to park. There’s nothing worse than arriving late to an interview as it’ll put you on the back-foot and leave the wrong impression.
It’s also important to check who you’re meeting with on the day. This information should be in your email or letter confirming your interview but if it isn’t do call ahead to confirm. Check out their Linked in profile if possible so you get a feel for their career with the company too.
- Take a copy of your CV and anything else they’ve asked you to prepare
Having a CV to hand can show that you’re well organised and prepared. It can also be useful for your interviewer as they may not have a copy of your CV with them. Don’t forget to take any documents that they’ve asked you to bring such as identification or a copy of course certificates.
- Listen to the questions carefully and try not to go off on a tangent
In your interview try to keep your answers focused by providing the specific examples that you’ve prepared. If you do get a question that you haven’t prepared for, take a moment to gather your thoughts. It’s best to take a minute to prepare rather than diving in and giving an answer that doesn’t really answer the question.
Towards the end of the interview you’ll probably be asked if you have any questions. This is your opportunity to double check whether the job is right for you. It’s also an opportunity for you to show your enthusiasm for the role and to demonstrate that you have prepared. Try to avoid questions around time off or employee benefits and focus on questions about the role and responsibilities. You could ask if they are facing any challenges within their department at the moment, or what their plans for development are in the future. Make sure you are positive about your interest in the role and let them know how much you would value the opportunity.
- Smile and thank the interviewer for their time
A smile and good manners can go a long way in leaving a lasting impression. As you leave, give your interviewer/s a firm handshake and don’t be too shy to ask about when you’re likely to hear from them next.
Best of luck with your interview and we hope these tips help you to put your best foot forward.