Job interviews can be a daunting process. No matter how many you attend over the course of your working life, the nerves never seem to ease. But, the most important thing to do is stay calm, remain confident, and follow our easy guide to interviews:
Before the Interview
The saying ‘fail to prepare; prepare to fail’ comes to mind here. It is crucial to make sure you are well prepared for a job interview. And no, this does not mean giving the company a quick google while you’re making your way there!
Take some time the night before your interview, research the company, and make some notes. Organise what you plan to wear, and anything you might need to take with you – paper copy of your CV, forms of identification etc. Familiarise yourself with the location of the interview and what your mode of transportation will be – if you plan to drive, ensure you know the nearest place to park.
Have a look at some frequently asked interview questions. Don’t expect them all to come up, and certainly don’t get too confident that these are the only ones that will be asked. However, having answers ready for general questions will have you feeling far more prepared, and therefore more confident.
Leave in plenty of time, keeping in mind the possibility of traffic. It is vital that you arrive not just on time, but about 5 or 10 minutes early. If you arrive any earlier than 15 minutes before the interview, hold off for 5 minutes – it could come across as an imposition if you show up too early.
Make sure you look tidy and professional before you enter the building, as first impressions count!
When walking into the interview location, smile and be friendly to any staff you encounter. They will likely inform your interviewer if they had a significantly good or bad impression from you. Whilst waiting for your interviewer, put your phone on silent and quickly look over any notes you took from your research.
During the Interview
Greet your interviewer with a firm handshake. We give a lot away through our body language, so ensure you sit up straight, smile and keep eye contact throughout the interview. Try your best not to fidget or keep your arms crossed, as this can be a tell-tale sign of nerves.
Listen carefully to what the interviewer asks. If you researched properly, you should be able to combine what you learned about the company with skills and knowledge you already have, putting across to the interviewer why you’re the perfect candidate for the role. If a question you didn’t expect comes up, don’t panic! Take a minute to think about your answer rather than blurting out something silly.
Always take the opportunity to ask questions. It shows that you’ve been listening, and that you are genuinely interested in both the company and the role. Don’t, however, ask questions regarding salary or holidays – this will be addressed at a later time if your interview is successful. Good questions to ask include:
- What are the day-to-day responsibilities of this job?
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- What do you like most about working for this company?
- What do you think are the most important qualities for someone to excel in this role?
Try to leave a positive impression. End the interview with a smile, a handshake and a genuine thank you. Even if it didn’t go as well as you hoped, remember that the interviewer liked you enough from your application to meet you – and this itself is a good sign.
After the Interview
It’s always a good idea to follow up from your interview. The next day, email the interviewer and thank them again for the opportunity. If you thought of any questions following the interview that you wish you had asked, now’s your chance. This shows you are still interested in the role and are keen to hear back from them.
If you are unsuccessful, it’s important not to put yourself down. It’s easy to take the rejection to heart, but it’s more likely that the decision wasn’t directly down to you personally. If someone else had slightly more relevant experience, there’s nothing you can change. It’s just one of those things! If it’s still bothering you, get in touch with the interviewer and ask them for feedback. It’s always good to get some constructive criticism, and this will help you prepare for your next interview.
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