Congratulations, you’ve impressed with your job application and have been invited for an interview. You’re one step closer to getting your dream job but for many the interview stage can be the most daunting part of any recruitment process. We’ve put together our interview top tips to help you prepare and ace that interview!
Planning ahead of time can help to reduce stress in the build up to your interview. There are a few practical steps you can take to help make interview day as stress-free as possible…
- Plan your journey. Maybe even do a trial run a couple of days before. Knowing where you’re going and how you’ll get there can help minimise stress and calm your nerves on interview day.
- Decide what to wear in advance. Choose your interview outfit and hang it out the night before.
- Double-check the information they’ve sent you. If they ask you to bring documents (passport, certificates etc) get them ready the day before your interview.
You’ve covered the practical pre-interview planning which should help you to keep calm and reduces the chance of any last minute panics but you’ll also need to prepare for the interview itself.
Preparing well for an interview should involve research, anticipating interview questions and practicing your answers.
- Re-read the job description and person specification. Are there skills, competencies or experience they’re looking for? Make a note of when and how you’ve used these skills or where you’ve gained the experience.
- Research the company. Use their website, social media and their company LinkedIn profile to find out more about the organisation. If their website has an ‘about us’ section read about their values and mission…are there areas that interest you? Or inspire you? This can be useful should they ask ‘Why do you want to work for us?’
- Anticipate some interview questions and practice answering these. Questions might relate to the job description so if there are specific skills they’re looking for (teamwork, organisation, communication, problem solving) you should try to think of examples of times when you’ve demonstrated those skills. We’d also recommend prepping for the following questions;
‘Tell me a bit about yourself”
“Why do you want this job?”
“Why do you want to work for us?”
“What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?”
- Make your answers relevant to the job you’re interviewing for. If an interviewer asks you to tell them about yourself give them information that’s relevant to the job – perhaps detail the degree you’re studying/have just completed, any relevant work experience you have and mention interests that might be useful in your work.
- Find more common interview questions here.
First Impressions Count
A third of recruiters say they know within the first 90 seconds whether they’ll recruit someone (source) so you really do need to make the right first impression. There are 4 easy steps you can take to ensure you’re impressing from the minute you meet your interviewer…
- Turn off your phone before you arrive. You don’t want your mobile to interrupt your interview.
- Make eye contact.
- Give a firm, confident handshake.
Be confident (even if you’re shaking really!) they’ve not invited you to the interview to watch you fail. On paper they think you can do the job and the interview process is your chance to show your enthusiasm and prove you’re a good fit for the role/company.
Asking questions at the end of the interview can show you’re keen and interested in the job. Have a few questions to ask your potential employer. These might include…
“What might a typical day in this role entail?”
“What are the main challenges I might face in this job?”
“What’s the typical career path for someone in this role?”
Interviews are a two-way process, this is your chance to find out more about the organisation and whether it’s the right fit for you, as much as it is their chance to decide which candidate is best for the job.
If they’ve not made it clear what happens next in the recruitment process you can ask about this too – “when do you think you might decide?” or “when am I likely to hear from you?”
Planning and preparing can help you be the best possible ‘you’ at interview, the one thing you can’t control is the competition. Do your best and hopefully you’ll be the strongest candidate on the day. If you’re not offered the job ask for feedback and take the feedback and experience to your next interview.
If you’d like more practice Hope students and graduates can book a mock interview via The Hub in The Gateway Building.