The final stage of getting any job is the interview. This can be the most difficult part and it is common to suffer from nerves. You will find listed below our interview tips, which we hope will take the pain out of this process.
An interview is not the time for research. In the age of the Internet it is very easy to find out about a company’s products, services, structure and other key information. In preparation for your interview it is best to take at least fifteen minutes looking at their website. For a greater edge, you can also try a Google search to find the latest news concerning the company. Then when the question, “What do you know about us?” comes up you will be able to show that you are interested in working for the prospective employer by demonstrating your knowledge about who they are and what they do.
Using your research of the company and either a job specification or copy of the job advert, aim to develop a set of ten relevant questions to ask at the interview. It is not necessary to ask all of these questions, but they are perfect for the end of the interview if the points you wanted clarifying are not covered. The types of questions you should ask could be around the company culture, the size of team you will be working in or specifics about the role itself. The interviewer always notes asking intelligent questions favourably, as it shows interest and enthusiasm for the role.
A great way of getting around interview nerves is taking a preparation sheet into the interview with you. The best thing is to get an A4 notebook and a pencil. On a page write out some key facts about the company, points you want to get across and questions to ask. It is vital that this is written lightly in pencil and not pen, as then from across a desk the interviewer will be unable to see your notes. On the opposite page you can make your own notes at the interview and use them to refer back to later. This gives the impression of ultimate professionalism and you the advantage of being able to refer to something you may have otherwise forgotten to ask or say.
Don’t Be Late
There really is no excuse for arriving late to an interview. Not only does it leave a bad impression, it could also annoy the person who is interviewing you. The day before your interview make sure you have looked up the address on a map and if possible do a test run so you know exactly where you are going. On the day itself leave plenty of time and if an unforeseen delay does occur, ensure you have a contact number for the interviewer. If you do think you are going to be late make the call ASAP to apologise and see if you can delay or reschedule the interview.
Know your CV
Before conducting an interview an interviewer will have normally read your CV and have prepared their questions around the information it contains. With this in mind, it is essential that you know what is on your CV and if possible take a copy with you to the interview. The worst-case scenario is the interviewer asking about a particular aspect of your job history only for you to be unable to answer the question. From this they could deduce you have either embellished the CV or have a poor memory. Either way this is not the right impression you should wish to convey.
Dress to impress
First impressions count and it is always a good idea to “Dress Above The Rest” at an interview. Remember you are out to make a good impression. Therefore if the company’s dress code is casual then you need to be dressed casually but a little smarter. For example; if the other employees wear trousers and open neck shirts then it would be a good idea for you to wear trousers, a tie and a smart jacket.If the dress code is a suit and tie then you need to wear your best suit and tie. In addition only wear minimal jewellery, remove facial piercings and make sure your shoes are polished. Regarding hygiene; hair must be well groomed, wear deodorant and keep scents low-key.
Don’t ask about money
This is a sensitive subject as (let's be honest) the main reason most people go to work is to get paid but the last impression you want to give is you only do it for the money. It is best for the interviewer to bring up the subject of salary. This will generally be towards the end of the interview and in two stage interviews may not come up until the second meeting. The aim of the interview is to try and present yourself in the best possible way. If the company want to hire you the subject of money will present itself in due course.
Body language is an area that many interviewers will take seriously. For example your CV may say you are ‘a confident person’ but your body language can give a completely different impression. Body language is an area that has been analysed for many years by professionals and interviewers alike and it is incredible what you can learn from someone just by noting their mannerisms.
• Cross Your Arms: Makes you look defensive.
• Sit on the edge of your seat.
• Play with your jewellery or hair, or overly touch your face.
• Rock on the seat.
• Interrupt when being asked a question
• Smile as frequently as possible (especially when you respond to a question) but just don’t over do it
• Keep your hands in your lap and try not to gesture wildly
• Keep eye contact at all times. If there is more than one interviewer, flick from person to person
• Be articulate and listen carefully to each question before giving your answer
• Keep calm and don’t panic
Try and keep your answers as concise (but not yes and no answers) as possible. If you are asked a specific question that requires you to provide an example of how you have dealt with a situation or closed a sale then give an example that makes your achievement stand out. For example: if you have won the salesman of the year award then give a little background into how you achieved it. Inevitably there will be times when you run out of steam and these moments can be quite frustrating. In this case just sit back, relax and take a few seconds to compose yourself before you deliver your answer to the question. There are people who believe that talking is more important than listening, but they are wrong. Avoid the temptation to interrupt the interviewer and allow them to finish their question before attempting to answer it.
As previously stated being prepared for an interview is key. If you get interview nerves then try practising the process with a friend. Conduct an interview rehearsal with a list of mock interview questions and a tape/video recorder. If you have to complete a presentation or demonstration as part of the interview include that as well. Start by introducing yourself and go all through the process right up to saying good-bye. Once completed listen back to yourself and write out and practise any answers you had difficulty with. Keep doing this until you are feeling more happy and confident in your delivery.