Job interviews are a necessary jobseeking evil, and though there are some that enjoy the challenge most of us find them nerve racking. We’ve put together some quick interview tips that should ensure that you breeze through your next job interview.
Make sure you research or “mystery shop” the company beforehand. For example, if your prospective employer is a retailer, try being a customer. It’s advisable to visit its website and look up the “About Us” section on its site. You’ll learn a lot about the company values from there. You should also check the “Press Release” or “News” sections of its site so you can find out the latest things the company is doing. This area of its site will also give you an insight into how transparent the organisation is about what it’s doing. They may feature employees of the month here or recent promotions, too. In an interview situation, all of the above will show the interviewer that you are thinking about how you would do the job, which is what they want to hear.
Make sure you have a couple of copies of your CV with you as well in case any of your interviewers ask for a copy. It also means you can refer to your CV during the interview; there’s no harm in glancing through for inspiration if you need it.
Doing your research about the company will help prepare you for some interview questions, but read up on the standard things you’re likely to be asked and rehearse your answers so they’re clear in your mind. Try and jot down a few interview questions for the interviewer, too. This shows a keen interest in the role and means you won’t be lost for words when asked if there’s anything you’d like to ask. You can even take a notepad with you with the interview questions you want to ask written down, again this shows confidence, preparation and organisational skills.
Be on time
Don’t fall at the first hurdle by turning up late. This is the big interview no-no and could help decide your fate before you’ve even spoken a word. “Getting lost” does not sit comfortably with interviewers. If you’re not sure where their offices are, try making the trip once a couple of days before your interview.
Dress the part
Make sure you dress smart, plain and simple. There are exceptions depending on the industry; a full suit and tie combo might be too formal for an interview at a hip new media agency or for the next Cbeebies Presenter job. If you’re not sure about the dress code, ask the HR department or recruiter for guidance; if in doubt, go with the smart (but not too smart) approach. It’s the safest option and you’re unlikely to be penalised if you’re up for a less formal interview. Try to steer clear of heavy perfume or aftershave; and for the girls, go easy on the make-up.
After the interview
If you’re unsuccessful, use it as an opportunity to improve. Seek feedback from the interviewer. You’re entitled to it. If you were tested on skills or competency, ask for the results. This shows initiative and keenness on your part, as well as boosting your future interview success chances; the interviewer may consider you for future vacancies at the company.