No matter what the job, the sector or the level of position, interviews will determine whether or not you get that dream job. Interviews have been around for years, and they are here to stay at least for the foreseeable future. So the question you are asking is how can I make sure I’m successful at an interview? Here are the top 10 tips:
1. Take care of yourself- Have a good night’s sleep, eat properly and relax before leaving for the interview. Allow yourself plenty of time so you are not rushing and forgetting items that you should be bringing with you such as paperwork and proof of identity. Preparation for unforeseen circumstances is essential, for example traffic and road works, leave early to ensure that you are punctual. Turning up late does not make a great first impression!
2. Preparation is key- Make sure you have the company’s contact details in case you are running late. Review your CV and the job advert before attending the interview. Make sure you know the role and responsibilities in depth, as you will be asked to provide examples and answers to hypothetical scenarios. Research the company, go to their website and get a feel for their culture and the type of person they are looking for. Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer otherwise you will look unprepared, disinterested or worst of all uninformed. Make sure you have researched specific industry news for the job, as you will probably get quizzed on this. Remember to bring a notepad with the questions listed so that firstly you don’t forget and secondly if they have been answered you still look prepared.
3. Make that first impression count- the first 30 seconds are crucial in influencing the interviewer’s perception for the remainder of the interview. You need to be professional in appearance, wearing smart clothes even if the normal office attire is more relaxed. Be polite, smile, make good eye contact and offer a firm handshake. Remember that 80% of communication is non-verbal, a lot can be inferred from your posture. Avoid folding arms as this will be seen as a defensive strategy. Although nerves will set in you need to stay calm and put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. What would you think of yourself if you were interviewing? Are you creating a positive impression?
4. Be yourself- while certain etiquette is expected, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. If you get that job you will suffer in the long run as people will have different expectations from you. This is a waste of resources and money from the company’s perspective and it will not look good for future applications if you leave after only a few days or weeks.
5. Cut the waffle- rather than answer questions straight away gather your thoughts and then answer after thoughtful reflection. A focused and relevant answer is of far more value than a rushed, ambiguous answer that may not even answer the question. This will only frustrate the interviewer. Do not discuss your previous employer in a negative way, it is unprofessional and you don’t know who their contacts are within the industry.
6. Positivity- if an interviewer sees a positive and enthusiastic attitude this is more likely to get you the job. You need to show enthusiasm for the role, the interviewer needs to feel that you are the only suitable person for the role and a good cultural fit for the organisation. If you think positively this will ultimately impact on the answers you give and the confidence you will demonstrate.
7. Examples- The advert will detail certain behaviours that are required, you need to have detailed examples to demonstrate that you hold these desired qualities, this is especially important when it is a competency based interview. If asked for an example of something not going to plan or a weakness, put a positive spin on your answer. Remember that the interviewer wants to see your potential room for improvement. It is more important to see that the flaw is under control rather than just a weakness you are aware of but not acting upon. The test is whether or not you can take responsibility and have learnt from it. The interviewer isn’t worried if you’ve made a mistake they want to see that you have learnt from it.
8. Competency based questions- the tried and tested STAR technique will help you give a focused answer, try and use this approach when possible.
S- Situation (describe the situation faced- context)
T- Task (example of the task that needs accomplishing)
A- Action (your action/direct involvement, what you did and why)
R- Results (outcome of your actions- what you accomplished and learnt)
This should allow you to structure your answer in a way that not only answers the question in a clear and concise way, but is clearly targeted and provides proof to the interviewer that you have the skills to be successful in this role.
9. Seek clarification- 90% of interviewers ask challenging/non-expected questions. You must remain in control and get the interviewer to repeat if necessary. Clarification is better than providing a vague or incoherent answer or something that doesn’t even answer the question. Asking questions around the points shows an interest for the role, it highlights that you are an engaging individual who has a genuine interest in the organisation and the position.
10. Close the interview/feedback- the opportunity has now arisen to discuss the role in detail, which should provide insight as to whether or not this role is for you. You should raise any concerns or queries at this point. Once the interview is over be sure to get feedback on how you performed as this will provide constructive and objective opinions which will be extremely useful in the future. If you have been put forward through a recruitment agency then call your consultant with your feedback. This will make the process quicker and more efficient. The agency will then notify you of the interviewer’s feedback.
I hope these tips help you prepare for your next interview, and I wish you luck in getting that role.
Competency based questions can be challenging so we recommend that you practice these with someone before attending, we can assist with this.
Marketing and social media co-ordinator