Picture this. You’ve found a role you’re perfect for – your skills match up and your experience is on point – so you put together an application form. In fact, it’s an awesome application form and it scores you an interview. Get in!
But then you get a little cocky. You skimp on the prep and, before you know it, interview day is upon you.
Unexpectedly (or maybe you expected it a little), you don’t get the job. Why? Because – as any Boy Scout worth his salt will tell you – you didn’t prepare. It’s a nightmare situation, but not an altogether uncommon one.
To make sure this story doesn’t become yours, we’ve put together a handy A-Z that could help you bag your next role…
Always be honest about your qualifications and experiences. If anyone finds out you’ve told some porkies, it could really hinder your chances in further interviews – people talk!
Be yourself – if you try to be someone you’re not, it’ll show. If the job and the company are truly right for you, you won’t have to change a thing.
Checklist! Write down a list of everything you need to do before your interview – that way you’ll leave no stone unturned.
Dress to impress. Some employers suggest a dress code for your interview, others don’t – it’s always best to ask if you’re not sure. First impressions count.
Experience of past interviews for similar positions will give you an understanding of what will be expected of you at the interview. No interview is exactly the same as another, but an inkling of what’s to come can help!
Facts about the business you’re hoping to work at are a great way to impress a potential employer. Do your research beforehand! Maybe don’t hit Facebook to find out what the CEO’s pet pony is called, but a little knowledge about recent business achievements and the industry will do the trick.
Get your mind set on the interview – and then stay focused! Trying to keep your head clear can be difficult at the best of times but it’s important to make sure smashing the interview is your number one priority.
Have a list of your key achievements, experiences and ambitions. That way, if the interviewer asks about them, you’re less likely to forget something important (only to remember it on the way home afterwards *facepalm*).
Icebreaker. Try to engage your interviewer in light conversation early on – it’s a great way to overcome nerves. And don’t forget that confident eye contact and a firm handshake can get you off to a flying start.
Job description. When you’re offered an interview, always ask for a copy of the job description – this should help you gain more of an understanding of the role and what will be expected of you.
Keep calm and stay collected – feeling flustered won’t do you any favours. It’s easier said than done, but you’re more than capable of getting through the day hitch-free. Be confident in yourself!
Live up to your application. You’ve been shortlisted, so your potential employer is already impressed – now it’s time to back it up with some personality! The way you come across as a person is important as it’ll show how you’ll fit into the current team.
Motivation. You should show you’re motivated and give the interview 100%! If not, you could lose out to someone who did…
Nerves are entirely natural, so don’t worry if you’re feeling a little shaky. Interviewers will expect you to be feeling a bit jittery and will understand that – but don’t let your nervousness overcome you.
Plan your whole day in advance and think about how you want it to pan out. Decide what time you’ll need to set off, map out your journey, think about how you’ll break the ice and note down any questions you want to ask.
Questions show that you’ve done your research and that you’re really interested and engaged. If you don’t have anything to ask at all, the interviewer might think you’re not serious about the job.
Research your potential employer – and perhaps check out the person who’ll be conducting your interview on LinkedIn too.
Salary is going to be high on your list of things to ask about, although you won’t want to rush into it – it’s best to leave it towards the end of your interview. Ask about the package and any benefits.
Time is of the essence, so plan your journey well. You don’t want to have to make a mad dash for the bus, then turn up to your interview puffing and panting because you’ve had to do a Usain Bolt to get there.
Understand exactly what the job entails – the interviewer will see you’ve read the job description and that you’re knowledgeable about the position.
Versatility. Being adaptable to different tasks and situations is important in any employee, so try and show that you’re able to do this in the interview. Think of a specific example showing when you’ve had to be versatile, ideally in the workplace.
Weaknesses are something your interviewer will most likely ask about. Be honest – you’ll only get an eye-roll if you say you’re ‘too much of a perfectionist’! Think about what you struggle with, but also suggest ways you have worked to improve or plan to improve in the future.
X marks the spot – where you’ll sign the contract if you’re offered the role! (OK, that one was a bit of a cop out. ‘X’ is always a tough one though, right? No xylophones or X-rays required at interviews.)
You should avoid saying anything negative about your current or former employer – this may not go down too well.
Zero points are lost if you don’t get offered the position. Build on your experience and use it to improve next time. Take away the positives!
If you’d like to see some more of our interview tips, check them out here.