Interviews are a nerve racking experience but try not to let them be. This is your opportunity to shine and show your potential employer what you can do. These tips will help you succeed:
Step 1 - Prepare. Ask questions about format so you know what to expect.
Will there be an assessment centre, role plays, or presentations? Do they use competency or strength based interview questions, or any tests? The more you know, the more you can prepare for. Polish up your interview skills, read about how to structure your responses e.g. the ‘STAR’ technique, it’ll put you a step ahead.
Step 2 - Look smart, 1st impressions count.
Dress well. It’ll be likely your employer will notice what you wear, and you can guarantee if you don’t look smart, they certainly will. Stand out for the right reasons. Appear polished and professional, make sure you look smart and your clothes are clean and pressed.
Step 3 - Smile, be polite and greet everyone you meet in a way you want to be remembered.
Be nice to everyone you meet. Greet receptionists and anyone you meet and pay attention to your surroundings when you’re waiting. You want everyone to get a good impression. There may be awards, papers and promotional materials, take an interest in case you’re asked anything about the company, you’ll be in the know.
Step 4 - Do your research.
Don’t go in only having had a brief look at their website. Companies are looking for people who want to work for them. Understand what they do and where they are. See if they’ve issued any press releases, won any big contracts etc. What markets do they cover? How big is the company? It’s all available on the internet these days, so you have no excuse.
Step 5 - Interview prompts give you time to think.
Accept a drink and make it water. Having a cold drink gives you the opportunity to think, without hesitation being noticed. If you’re asked a question you want to consider, pick up your drink and take a slow sip of water, it will give you a moment to plan your reply.
Step 6 - Answer the question, not what you wanted the question to be.
Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to prove how much you know, by waffling or mentioning irrelevant things. Make sure you listen – don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify themselves if you’ve found a question confusing or something is unclear. Structure your answer, and keep it to the topic in hand. (The STAR technique can be useful here.)
Step 7 - It’s a 2 way street, Interview them too.
Interview them too – it’s a 2 way process, think about what you want from a role before the interview, and what you expect from an employer. Ask questions, have a few prepared before you go and try to get a feel of the culture. What’s their growth plan? Are there opportunities to train and develop your skills? Be careful though, don’t go into too much discussion at this stage e.g. salaries, benefits and holidays, ask the terms of course, but don’t start making holiday requests or salary negotiations too early on.
Step 8 - Close the meeting and get next steps.
Thank them for meeting you and ask what the next steps will be. Ask how many people are they have left to see and how long the process may take. Companies aren’t always in a position to make a decision overnight, so know where you stand.