Interviews can sometimes be quite daunting, but they don’t need to be! Here are some tips to help you go in feeling confident and to get the best out of each interview.
- Research. Ideally you would have done some basic research on the company that you are applying to work for already, but now it is really important to find out as much about them as possible. Visit their website and find out about who they are, their company ethos, their parent company, other sectors that they may be involved in etc. Questions you might want to ask yourself are: who are their customers? Who is their biggest competition? What challenges is this industry facing at the moment? How would you fit in to this company?
- Be prepared. Print off your CV, and make sure you know exactly what you have said on there. Compare your CV to the job description advertised, what experiences can you use to highlight where you meet the requirements? Take any evidence to support you. Many interviews will be based on your CV, think about what questions you may get ask and prepare answers that demonstrate your suitability for the role.
First impressions. Think about and plan your interview outfit ahead of time, make sure that it is clean and tidy. Not all job interviews require a suit, it will depend on the industry that you are in, but it is always better to overdress than to not make an effort.
Plan your journey and consider all eventualities (train delayed, missed the bus etc). Aim to arrive 10 minutes early. Arriving early and feeling smart will help you feel more confident and less flustered.
Ask questions. An interview is not an interrogation; don’t be afraid. You need to get all the information you need to know if this job is right for you. Asking questions shows a genuine understanding and interest in the role, as well as showing that you are confident. Questions you might consider asking: How did this role become available? Is there opportunity for progression? How is the team performing at present? What challenges would someone in this role face?
Steer clear of asking questions about money at this stage. This is something to negotiate once you have been offered the role.
- Highlight your strengths and be constructive about your weaknesses (or areas for development!). If asked about your weaknesses, don’t deny having any! Acknowledge your areas for development and show that you are aware and conscious about things you may need to do to improve. E.g. I used to struggle with my time management but now I make sure I have a plan each day in order to get everything done and to focus on priorities.
- Be yourself and honest. Your CV will already have told the interviewer if you have the experience that they are looking for. The interview is to find out about you. They will be thinking about how you will fit in to the team and the future needs of the company. Be yourself.
- Close. Ask about the next step of the interview process, or if you are confident enough if they think that you have demonstrated what is needed to be successful in this role. The second option may also give you an opportunity to address any concerns the interviewer has. Arrange a time/date for follow up.
- Follow up and ask for feedback. Drop a follow up call, or email, to your interviewer to thank them and ask for feedback.
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