I’ve recently landed myself a new job (with a pretty nice pay rise) and thought I’d do a post to share my top 5 interview tips, to help anyone who’s going through an application process to smash the interview and bag the job. These tips can vary for the type of role you are applying for, the sector the job is in and the type of interview you’ll have (one-one-on, group etc). So, without further ado…
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Taking some time to prepare before the interview will enable you to answer questions accurately, alleviate any unnecessary nerves, boost your confidence and allow you to show yourself off in the best way possible. Trying to wing it is all well and good until they ask you specific questions about the company or role and without having researched this already, there’s a 99% chance you’ll have to blag the answer and make it obvious that you have no idea what you’re interviewing for. The first thing to research would be the company itself, so have a look around online and find some key facts. As a starting point, you should try to find information about what they do, what sector they are in, what services/products they offer and if they have received any recognition or awards (companies always like to hear people talk about their achievements so this one will get you in the good books)
Now that you’ve got your key facts about the company as a whole, you can look more specifically at the role that you are interviewing for. The things to make notes on would be the main responsibilities, necessary skills required and if applicable, relevant qualifications needed. You can then add to this by thinking of examples of when you’ve exhibited those responsibilities or skills – e.g. if a main responsibility of the role is to respond to telephone queries, you could provide an example of when you have used an impeccable telephone manner and a high standard of communication skills.
2. “I want to leave because my manager is a …”
It’s also a good idea to prepare some rough answers for any questions you think they may ask. These could be competency based questions (can you give a specific example of a time when…), questions about your strengths and weaknesses, your reasoning for wanting the role (don’t say ‘for the money’, you won’t get the job), or the reason you want to leave your current job (probably best not to use this as an opportunity to slag off your manager). Try not to write the answers out and memorize them, you’ll end up sounding unauthentic and robotic. Instead, jot down some points that you could use to answer a specific question and use these as mental prompts when the questions are asked.
3. Check yourself before you wreck yourself
First impressions are important so make sure that you look the part! Dress appropriately for the job that you are interviewing for, make sure your clothes are ironed and shoes are clean, your hair/makeup/nails are presentable and you look generally professional. If you walk into an interview looking or smelling a mess, there’s a high chance this impression will make the interviewer’s mind up before they even hear what you have to say. In competitive roles with a large amount of applicants, it really can come down to something like this when picking who does or doesn’t get shortlisted after interview. Finally, always have a quick look in the mirror before leaving for an interview, it’s a good chance to check that you’ve not got any fly away hair or any lettuce in your teeth left over from lunch.
4. Question time
Some people think it’s a negative to ask questions in an interview, in fear of acting as though the interviewer didn’t give you enough information throughout. In actual fact, asking questions is a positive because it shows your interest in the company and your desire to learn more. If you’re stuck for these kinds of questions, here’s a few to start you with:
- What are you looking for in your ideal candidate?
- What is the company ethos?
- Which attributes are important for success in this role?
- What opportunities are offered for development?
5. If you can’t be on time, be early
It might seem obvious but don’t just arrive on time, arrive early! As a rough rule, I’d say it’s good to arrive 10 – 15 minutes early. Make sure you plan your route and allow enough time for unexpected obstacles such as traffic, bad weather or not being able to find the location. There’s nothing worse than rushing, arriving flustered, stressed and not being able to concentrate. If you arrive in plenty of time, you can relax, wait for your interviewer and think over the information you’ve prepared. If you face unavoidable problems, contact your recruiter or the company to let them know in advance – they’ll appreciate the honesty!
Other than this, my best advice is to remain authentic and individual (avoid cliché’s), remember any necessary documentation (CV, certificates, passport), maintain good body language, stay calm and be confident! You’re trying to stand out from other candidates and show them exactly why you are the best person for the job.
If you’re reading this in preparation for an interview, then good luck!
See you on the flip side,
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