So you’re in the running for the job you’ve always wanted… hurray! But before you start planning how you’ll spend your salary and researching the best cafes near the office, you need to nail it in the interview.
Here are our top 30 tips for making the most of this chance.
Before the interview
Research the company
Prepare for the inevitable “What do you know about our business?” question by arming yourself with knowledge from the company’s website, Wikipedia page, reviews on Glassdoor and social media channels.
Research the role
Re-read the job description to make sure you cover all the requirements, brush up any skills you’re missing and research the role to make sure nothing will catch you out.
Speaking in front of a panel can be nerve-wracking, so practise with a friend or family member first to spot any flaws in your answers or any typos in your presentations.
Dress to impress
Even if you’re interviewing for a company with a casual dress code, you should always wear a suit or something smart; you’ll appear more professional and it’ll boost your confidence.
Prepare for an emergency
Let’s face it, accidents happen, and you don’t want to arrive for an interview looking a mess. Prepare for the worst with plasters, tissues and safety pins, just in case!
Be on time
These days, with live traffic reports and Google Maps, there’s really no excuse to be late to an interview. Plan your journey beforehand with extra time in case you need it.
Know who to ask for
It might seem unnecessary, but it’s often the case that the person at reception isn’t told that interviews are being held. So make their lives easier by knowing who you’re meeting.
Prepare some examples
Even if you aren’t asked to prepare a presentation, you should still pull together a few examples of successful projects and key figures from previous roles to support your answers.
Brush up your CV
Your interviewers will have seen your CV, but it can’t hurt to have a spare copy. It’s also a handy document to glance at if you get lost for words.
Turn your phone off
We can’t emphasise enough how important this is; there’s nothing more distracting than a phone vibrating somewhere in the room or a ringtone blaring out. Avoid the embarrassment, make sure it’s off!
During the interview
Listen carefully to the questions
When you’re really nervous, it’s surprisingly easy to miss the question. To avoid an awkward silence (or even worse, answering the wrong question), stay focused or ask them to repeat it.
Smiling is contagious, and if you do it enough you’ll soon have everyone in the room smiling too. This positive attitude is sure to help you through any tricky questions.
It’s easy to speed up when you’re nervous, and interviewers are probably prepared for this. Just take a deep breath, think about what you want to say and speak.
Make eye contact
This is a classic mistake, and it happens often if you’re asked to do a presentation. Rehearse your notes to give you the confidence to focus on good eye contact.
Do not interrupt
Annoying at the best of times, and even worse in an interview, this is something that’ll really count against you. No matter how enthusiastic you are, let the interviewer finish.
If you lie about either your accomplishments or your failures, you’ll get caught. Trust us. You’ll get more respect if you explain your mistakes and how you’ve learned from them.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter what you say in an interview, if you say it with the right attitude you’ll impress the interviewer. Show them that you’re passionate about the role!
Whether you’re currently employed or not, you should never say anything rude or unprofessional about another company. It can seem petty or immature, and says more about you than them.
Ask ‘good’ questions
Use your pre-interview research into the company to prepare a few questions. Some good topics to cover are asking about future plans, recent press releases or key products.
Use body language
Use your own body language to convey a confident and passionate person. You should also use your interviewer’s body language to your advantage and gauge how your answers are being received.
After the interview
Thank the interviewers
Even if the interview went badly, you should always thank your interviewers. It’ll create a lasting impression after you leave and might just give you the edge over another candidate.
Follow up with an email
Don’t worry about appearing too eager; a short and polite email thanking the company for the interview and offering to provide more information reminds them that you’re eager and helpful.
Don’t dwell on it
Whether an interview went well or badly, it’s hard not to obsess about every answer and every facial expression. Just accept that it’s over and there’s nothing else you can do.
Be prepared for an offer
It’s never too late to plan. If you’re offered the job, do you want to negotiate the terms? Do you have any questions? Write them down before that phone-call comes.
Be prepared for a second stage
If you think it went well, it’s a good idea to start thinking about a second stage interview. Do you have all the figures you need? Another outfit? Get thinking!
Contact your references
If you think that the interview went really well, one of the next steps for the company might be to contact your references. A quick call will give them time to think of what to say.
Don’t be disheartened
No-one has a 100% success rate, and nobody is offered every job they interview for. If this happens, try not to take it personally. The right job is out there.
Evaluate your performance
If you don’t get the job, don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Ask for feedback to discover your weaknesses, and avoid making the same mistakes twice.
Often, after an interview, you’ve no idea when the company will make their decision. If you haven’t heard from them after a week, contact them. It’ll put your mind at rest either way.
Stay in touch
Even if you’re unsuccessful, an interview can be a great opportunity to network. Send out a few LinkedIn invites and maybe you’ll be at the front of the queue next time another opportunity comes up.
Good luck out there!
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