Interview hints and tips

 

 

Interviews and interview preparation can be stressful at the best of times. We have put together a simple guide to cover off the main pointers to remember. Like a person, an interview is an individual experience, where no one-size-fits-all will be perfect, but these key things to remember may help.

Preparation:

  • Look up the company website. An obvious one, but people do make assumptions about organisations that might be incorrect. You are not expected to know everything and repeat it, but a good read will give you a decent insight and overview
  • Think about why you have applied for this role and why with this company specifically – the answer to this simple question could determine the outcome of your interview in the first five minutes
  • Check out relevant publications, articles etc. on what is going on in the sector – this will help you to ask relevant questions at the end of an interview and shows you have done your research
  • Read the job description and competencies. Make a list of examples that match up to each one – most questions will cover more than one competency so if you have one for each, you will have sufficient not to repeat an example. There are numerous websites that will talk you through competency-based interviews or the STAR technique – ‘winging it on the day will almost certainly result in failure’
  • Review your own CV and career history – this part, people do expect you to know like the back-of-your-hand. If you feel you have a unique selling point – make a note
  • Map out how to get there and how long it takes at that time of day. There is nothing like being late and then struggling for a parking space to increase your stress levels

On the day:

  • Turn up on time – not twenty minutes early, but five minutes is sufficient
  • Dress appropriately – check with the interviewer or your consultant what the format and dress code might be in anticipation
  • Smile and be polite to everyone you see there regardless of status; the receptionists’ opinion is often asked for, as a barometer of your personality
  • Handshake – make it confident but not a vice grip, additionally limp lettuce is not a good feel
  • Be concise – enough detail but don’t waffle on. Overrunning by an hour is not the sign of a good interview necessarily. Practice your answers, this will give you an idea of how long your examples will take
  • Have pre-prepared questions. If they cover them off in the interview – tell them
  • Take a copy of your CV - yes, they should have one, but that does not mean technology failures, last minute meetings etc. have not caught the interviewer out on the day. If they do need one you have done them a favour and it will positively impact their view of you
  • Relax – easier said than done, but if you are prepared and on time, you are off to a good start

Afterwards:

  • Do ask when you should expect to hear back
  • Do tell them if you are interested at the time, feedback goes both ways and it will be seen as a positive
  • Don’t forget to thank them for their time and continue to be polite to everyone you encounter, as you leave the building