Everyone preparing for a job interview needs to read this

Getting ready for a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience, but these top tips will help you nail it

By Lydia Cerguera

Your application has been accepted. Your CV has been read. Now you’ve been invited to an interview for the job of your dreams.

    How are you going to give the best possible account of yourself in just a half-hour conversation?  

This is the moment when anxiety sets in. How are you going to give the best possible account of yourself in just a half-hour conversation? How are you going to make a good impression?

To help you prepare, we’ve compiled a list of tips for interview success. Read them, and you’ll be ready for anything.

1. Turn up early

Apart from car crashes, train strikes, a national declaration of war, broken bones (you get the picture!) there is absolutely no excuse for arriving late to an interview.

Plan your journey. Check your petrol levels. Listen to the traffic news. Make sure you have parking money. Memorise the bus/train timetable.

Basically, do whatever is necessary to get there early. And by early, we mean half an hour at the very least.

That way, you have time to find the interview room, go to the toilet, calm down, drink some water, and get mentally prepared for the challenge ahead.      

2. Do your homework

Find out as much as possible about your prospective employer prior to the interview. That enables you to demonstrate a real understanding of the company, which is sure to impress.

Another tip is to get some background on your interviewer, so that you can establish a rapport with them and show that you’re willing to go the extra mile in securing the job.

3. Read the job description. Then read it again

It’s surprising how many times interviewers have to remind people of what’s included in a job role, even though they’ve applied for the vacancy.

Read all the information provided in the job spec before the interview, and be sure to refer to it in your answers. This shows that you’ve thought about your application and what you can bring to the role. It may also help you work out if the job’s exactly what you want.

    Your task is to show the interviewer that you can take direction and grow with the business, not that you want to take it over (yet).  

4. Manners maketh man (and woman)

Good manners don’t cost anything and help you make a strong impression when meeting people for the first time.

Shake the interviewer’s hand at the beginning and end of the interview, make eye contact, thank them for their time, and sit up properly in your seat.

You may find that the interviewer is busy taking notes for a lot of the interview, so don’t worry if you can’t maintain eye contact while answering their questions. But be sure to look at them, rather than turning your face away. Even with their head down, they’ll be able to sense your engagement.

5. Be confident, but not too confident

Feeling geared up and ready to take on the world? Great, but don’t muddle that with sounding arrogant about your experience and knowledge.

Answer questions with grace, despite the fact you may think you’re perfect for the role. Your task is to show the interviewer that you can take direction and grow with the business, not that you want to take it over (yet).

6. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before the big day

Most job adverts offer a chance to contact the employer before an interview to ask any questions. These may be about things such as working hours, the location, or the benefits package. Or maybe you just want to clarify some detail about the job spec.

It’s a good idea to get this sort of stuff out of the way prior to your interview. That will give you a clearer understanding of what’s on offer, as well as showing the interviewer that you’re taking the opportunity seriously.

7. Remember to whet your whistle

Bring a bottle of water to an interview, just in case the company doesn’t provide a drink. There’s nothing worse than tacky-mouth syndrome, especially when you’re trying to impress.

Keep the bottle in a discreet place and remember not to gulp back the entire contents within the first five minutes. It’s probably not a great idea to interrupt your interview with an emergency trip to the loo.

    ...no interviewer wants to see a candidate wearing a creased shirt with ketchup stains down the front.  

8. Turn your phone off, and put it away

You wouldn’t have your phone on at the cinema, so why would you keep it on during a potentially life-changing interview?

While it may be tempting to look like a powerhouse with your phone on the interview table, avoid this at all costs – it just shows the interviewer they are not worth your time.

9. Dress the part

It doesn’t matter if you’re going for a job at a fast-food chain or a high street bank, no interviewer wants to see a candidate wearing a creased shirt with ketchup stains down the front.

Smart clothes, a well-groomed but not fastidious appearance, and a nice clean aroma are just the ticket.

The interviewer needs to know you’ll take the role seriously. If you can’t leave the house looking smart, they’re unlikely to have confidence in your abilities.

10. Think about your answers. Don’t rush in

It can be tempting to leap in when the interview gets going, but most employers prefer candidates to take their time in answering questions. Better to give a thoughtful response after a brief pause than to jump in with something ill-considered.

Of course, if you think about potential questions before the interview, you may find you have some well-prepared answers up your sleeve. And that’s sure to make a good impression.

Published: 7 November 2019

© Just Recruitment Group Ltd

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