In today’s competitive job market, it isn’t enough to just send out a great CV or have good qualifications. You need to show at interview that you really are the best candidate for the job. And as the first 30 seconds of a job interview are the most important, it’s crucial to be on the ball right from the start.
Here are our top tips for interview success:
It goes without saying that preparing for your interview correctly is key. Along with ensuring you know the job description inside out, have a good look at the company website, read any relevant company literature and keep an eye on their social media. Have an opinion on subject matter of the company blog and any whitepapers they’ve published.
Re-read the job advert and your CV or application form before the interview. Remind yourself what you told the employers about yourself on paper. Be ready to talk about your qualifications, achievements and above all, your valuable experience.
2. Be punctual
It’s essential that you get to the interview in good time, so write down the address and plan your journey, including where to park or get off the train or bus. If possible, do a practice run and aim to arrive 15 minutes before the interview.
Make sure you’ve had something to eat and drink a couple of hours before you get there, and try to sort out your outfit the night before to avoid any last minute stress.
3. Make a great first impression
Remember that everyone’s first impressions of you could count towards you getting the job. So be friendly and polite to the staff on reception when you check in. Then greet your interviewer with a firm handshake, smile and give eye contact. Try to make suitable small talk during the walk to the interview room.
4. Give detail, but don’t waffle
When you are giving examples of how you can meet the specifics on the job description, remember to be as detailed as possible. Give specific details about a task, explain what you did, problems you faced and how you solved them. Answer every question properly, and always keep the action you took to a problem and the result or successful outcome you achieved at the forefront of your mind.
Remember, it’s fine to take a moment to gather your thoughts before you respond, and don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to repeat the question if you think you misheard.
5. Think about why you are the best candidate
Most job adverts will list the skills and qualities the company is looking for. You need to demonstrate these skills by providing examples in the interview. Prepare at least three or four strong points about your skills and experience that relate to the job role and company and think about what makes your experience and skills unique to that of other candidates.
Be sure to have examples ready for all of the ‘essential criteria’ or ‘responsibilities’ parts of the job description, but establishing of ways that your experience covers the ‘desirable’ or ‘other’ qualities mentioned is what will really set you apart from the rest of the applicants.
6. Be positive
Remember that your interviewer is likely to end up being your boss. So they will probably be thinking about what you’d be like to work with. So don’t criticise your current boss or colleagues, it won’t go down well. Interviewers want people who are team players, enthusiastic and enjoy a challenge. Use positive language, and talk yourself up. You may be feeling nervous but make sure you sit upright and always maintain good eye contact.
7. Be prepared for the unexpected
You may be caught off guard with an awkward question. You cannot prepare for every difficult question but try to appear relaxed and not flustered by it. Interviewers often ask questions like this to see how you react to being on the spot. Smile, stay cool and pull your thoughts together before answering. Always bear in mind the job description and the company ethos before you reply.
8. Ask questions
There will be a point towards the end of the interview when the interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Prepare some beforehand. Whether it’s something you want to clarify about the structure of the company, a task on the job description, or even something you want to know more about from the website, be sure to have at least three potential questions to hand before you walk in.
Ensuring you are well prepared is the most crucial step in feeling confident for an interview. Do your research, keep calm, and above all, be yourself.