Interviews are part of life. Most people, at some time, will need to have an interview to get a job, a mortgage, a bank account or even a school place for their kids and it can be daunting. After a break, or if you are really desperate for the interview to go well, it can be rather intimidating no matter how experienced you are.
So we thought we would do some super swotting on your behalf and give you the top ten tips on aceing an interview.
1. Knowledge is Power
This old chestnut we hear you cry but never truer than here. Make sure you do your research about the company or the person who is interviewing you. You need to understand what they are about before you can give them what they want. Read any information that has been sent over and make sure you understand how your experience relates to what they want. Social media channels are as much of a must-read as profiles about the industry, the competition and the person who is interviewing you. The more you know, the more empowered and confident you will feel.
2. Review your CV and/or application
Make sure you have your CV and/or application to hand and remind yourself of what they know about you already (and just in case you are prone to exaggeration remind yourself of what you said you could do!). This is also a good starting point in preparing for any questions they may ask. Use your CV as a reference point as your interviewer is likely to have it in front of them and mention key points when appropriate and interesting.
3. Dress the part
It shouldn’t need to be said that unless you are interviewing for the position of a lifeguard then you need to dress accordingly. Generally, the higher position then the smarter you should look, however, try and find out what the company culture is like before deciding what to wear. If it’s a casual company and everyone wears jeans and trainers, you may not feel like a good fit if you go suited and booted. Oh and definitely no smoking beforehand and no chewing gum.
4. Don’t be late
Totally critical unless you want to be written off before the interview has even started. Unless you’ve got a good excuse then you’re giving them a reason not to hire you because if you can’t even make it on time of the interview day well then there is no hope.
5. Be honest
It’s okay to big yourself up a little but do not start telling porkie pies. This will do you no favours. If you don’t know the answer to a question or you feel yourself panicking a little, take a deep breath and avoid rambling. Ask to revisit the question when you’ve thought about it. If you have a job on your CV that didn’t work out or a gap which needs to be explained be honest and explain what you learned out of the experience.
6. Avoid negative talk
So your last boss might have been a total bitch but now is not the time to say it. Do not speak badly about former bosses, colleagues, brands or companies. The world is a small place and you never know who knows who.
7. Always have some questions
It is always a good idea to have a think about some questions as firstly it can show off your critical thinking skills and secondly can help clarify exactly what they are offering and whether it is a good fit for you too. Remember that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. It may not feel like that but it is completely true.
8. Be Confident
The fact that you have been given an interview in the first place means that you have the potential to get the position so be confident and don’t be afraid to demonstrate your knowledge and skills. Confidence is a fine balance however so be confident but not overbearing. Try not to talk to much and don’t be scared of small silences.
9. Show Your Enthusiasm
Nerves can get the better of all us and can sometimes dumb down other emotions so remember to show your enthusiasm with not only what you are saying but with your voice and your body language.
10. Follow up
Last but definitely not least, always follow up with an email or even a text thanking your interviewer for their time and for the opportunity. This is a good chance to remind them why you’re a good fit for the position. Keep it short, not too sucky-uppy and try and send it within 24 hours of your interview.