Interviews can often seem scary but with a little planning you’ll feel much better. Why not try some of our top tips to boost your confidence and get the very best out of every interview you do.
Get organised. Go through your CV and memorise as much of it as you possibly can. Then print it off and take it with you ready to refer to. Consider which parts of your CV best match the requirements of the job you’re being interviewed for, and take any evidence like certificates along with you too. Most interviews are largely based on your CV, but spend some time thinking about the questions you might get asked and how you would answer them to show that you’re the best person for the role.
Study, research, repeat. Make sure you know as much as possible about the company you’re looking to work for. Go onto their website and discover more about how they were founded, what their ethos is and what it is exactly that they do. For example, who are their target customers/clients? What challenges does the organisation face at the moment and how are they taking steps to move forward?
Make your first impression count. You never get a second chance at a first impression so make sure you’re clean and tidy and that you’ve planned what to wear ahead of the interview day. You may not necessarily need a suit, but that depends on the industry the job is in. Remember though, it’s always best to be overdressed than underdressed.
Plan your journey. Decide how you’re going to get to your interview and what happens if something goes wrong like a flat tyre or a train cancellation. It’s best to get there 10 minutes early if possible so that you have time to sit and gather your thoughts before going in.
Ask plenty of questions. Interviews aren’t just so that your potential new employers can give you a grilling; they’re also the perfect opportunity to ask your own questions to see if it’s definitely the organisation and job role for you. Can you see yourself actually working there? By appearing keen and interested, you’re showing the interviewer/panel just how much you like the job and how much you care. Good examples of questions are: Is this a new role? What are the opportunities for progression? What challenges are there within the role, as well as for the team as whole?
Highlight your best qualities and be positive about your weaknesses. If the interviewer/panel asks about your weaknesses, be honest but don’t put yourself down too much. Weaknesses are simply opportunities for improvement so put a positive spin on them. Be enthusiastic, for example say “I used to find time management difficult but now I write down a to-do list every morning and tick off each item throughout the day which helps me to prioritise.”
Avoid asking anything about money for the moment. If you’re offered the job then this is something you can negotiate then.
Be honest and most of all, be yourself. The interviewer/panel will already have looked at your CV to find your knowledge and experience on paper; what they don’t know is YOU. Smile, project yourself well and help them to get to know what you’re about and how you would fit into both the team and the organisation. Let your personality shine!
Round the interview off nicely. If you’re feeling hopeful and that the interview went well, ask when you might hear from them and what the next step of the process is.
Get some feedback. Following up with the interviewer afterwards is often very helpful. Email or drop them a line to thank them for the interview, find out how they feel it went and what things they liked about you, as well as areas for improvement.