Interview Tips

Interview Tips

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We’ve all been there, you receive the call to say that you have been shortlisted for an interview for the role that you have recently applied for. The nerves start to kick in and you wonder if this time is your time. You can only try your best and sometimes it doesn’t work out for whatever reason. We aim to give you the best possible advice to help with your interview.

Pre-Interview

Interview Research

Research

You have applied for a company, but do you know much about them?

- Check the company details at Companies House.

- Get a grasp on the company history, helping you to engage with the interviewer more, filling those awkward silences.

- Found out more about them on social media, check to see what people are saying.

- If you know who is conducting your interview, do your research into their achievements. It gives you a talking point. If they have overseen certain projects; show an interest in them along with any hobbies and interests, its’s possible you may have something in common.

Having researched your potential new employers, you will have a greater understanding of everything. This will give you the advantage when it comes to the interview, showing that you have a good knowledge of the business. 

Interview Preparation

Preparation

One of the key elements of your job interview is the preparation. The first thing that you should do is to try and think of the questions your interviewer will ask.

Some examples are listed below –

What can you tell me about yourself?

Explain key factors about yourself, keep it brief and interesting. The interviewer doesn’t need to know your life story.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

You should be aiming to work up through the company which you are applying to work for.

What motivates you?

Show that you are hungry for the role.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

Have you had regional or national acknowledgement if so, now’s the time to share it. Likewise if you’ve done something that you feel passionate about outside of work, let them know.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and you should obviously go in to more detail about your strengths, but also mention your weaknesses. It shows your strength of character if you can do this.

What salary are you looking for?

The salary should’ve been advertised when you applied for the role. Don’t go in all guns blazing, keep calm and explain what you would ideally be looking for. If it is advertised as a variable amount depending on experience, and you feel that you have that relevant experience, you should be aiming for the higher end of the scale.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Time to discuss your hobbies and interests and what you enjoy doing. If you’ve done your research on the interviewer and have something in common with them now’s the time to mention it.

Why do you want to work for this company?

If you have researched the company positives, you should discuss them. Don’t be afraid to talk with confidence, to demonstrate that you are passionate and the right fit for the role.

Why should we hire you?

Use keywords from the job description and expand on them.

Why do you want to leave your current role?

Never ever say a bad word about your most recent employer. You should always be looking to move on to further your career or for a fresh challenge.

Why do you have gaps in your CV?

Be truthful and tell the interviewer why. 

Dress code

Dress code

Dress to impress! First impressions count. Dust off the suit, get your shoes shined and hit the ground running. One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is not dressing for the occasion. You should always dress for the role that you want to progress to, even if it’s not the role that you are currently being interviewed for.

It is always worth asking the recruiter, when you get invited for interview, what the dress code is – ask what previous people have worn, a three-piece suit might be overkill for some start-up type business. Your opinion of smart may be completely different to those recruiting, so it’s best to be sure. 

Time keeping

Turning up for an interview on time is vital. If you don’t, you will already be on the back foot as this will not be a good start to the interview. Plan the journey to where the interview is being held. If you plan to travel by car, do so on your day off or at a weekend, prior to the interview, to understand the location and where you can park etc – also, consider the time of day that you are travelling. Alternatively do your research on what public transport services are available and how frequent they are. There is nothing worse than turning up to an interview late, as it will leave you flustered and creates a bad first impression. Aim to arrive around 15 minutes before your interview starts to show punctuality and that you mean business.

Checklist

- Research the company.

- Prepare for interview questions.

- Dress to impress.

- Plan your journey and leave enough time for any delays.

Interview Day

Interview day

The day has come for the interview and if you’ve followed our interview tips, hopefully you should be geared up to showcase what you’ve got to offer.

When you arrive for the interview, make sure that you remember the interviewers name and, when asked, who you are there to see and why you are there.

Once you are introduced to the interviewer, it is important to greet them with a firm handshake whilst retaining eye contact. They will no doubt ask you how you are feeling and what the journey was like on the way in. It’s natural to feel nervous and the interviewer will know this and try to put you at ease. You’re only human after all.

It’s important, in the early stages of the interview, to have an ‘’ice breaker’’, this is where the interviewer will ask you to shed some light on yourself and what you like to do in your spare time. This is a perfect way of helping you to settle in to the interview and calm those nerves. All you need to do is act naturally and let them get a better understanding of you.

You may be asked to do an activity if you are involved in a group interview. One example of this is to build the tallest structure out of just newspapers and Sellotape with your fellow interviewees. It may sound like a crazy way of doing things, but for the interviewer it makes perfect sense. They will be looking to see how you work within a team and who takes leadership of the project. The interviewer will be looking at your analytic thinking and how you assess things. The best way to approach this would be not to go at 110mph but to take a step back and calmly voice your idea within the group whilst also asking for everybody else’s approach. This way you will get everybody on side to work as a team rather than as an individual.

The interviewer will ask you more in-depth questions once the ice breaker is out of the way and will use some of the questions that you should’ve prepared for in advance. Always have a question on hand to ask the interviewer, in case they ask if you have any questions. It shows that you really want the job. Even though you want to know about the salary and the annual leave you are entitled to, if successful, it may be worth asking something such as what a normal working day/week entails and what the expectations of the role are. That way you will have engaged with the interviewer and shown a keen interest within the company.

At the end of the interview, you should always thank the interviewer and again give them a firm handshake and ask when they are likely to make a decision on the position.