We know that not everyone, in fact hardly anyone, relishes job interviews. In fact, interviewing well is a skill in itself, so we make sure that our candidates get the support and guidance they need to perform to the very best of their ability.
We asked our consultants to share their top tips for the perfect interview:
Do your homework: This sounds obvious but it’s surprising how many candidates turn up to an interview knowing very little about the organisation. Most interviewers will ask what you know about the business. Checking out the website is an obvious first step but we’d also recommend taking a look at their LinkedIn profile and seeing if you have any shared contacts who could give you a bit more insight. If it’s a larger organisation find out if they have been in the news recently – check out latest company results, big contract or award wins. Mentioning these within the interview shows that you’ve got a real interest in the business.
Be prepared: Most interviewers will want to know why you want the job and will ask for examples to back up the skills and experience you’ve talked about on your CV. We always tell candidates to prepare responses to these questions beforehand. Some also write personal statements to take along; this is a great way of giving the interviewer more insight into who you are and why you think you’d be the perfect person for the job. It will also give them something to refer to after you’ve left. It’s also worth taking along certificates or examples of work that would be relevant to that position.
Have a dummy run: There is nothing more stressful than running late for an interview because you can’t find anywhere to park or because your train is running late. To help with preparation, we recommend doing a practice run a couple of days before the interview, to know where you are going and how long it will take.
Be enthusiastic: The interviewer will want to know that you are enthusiastic about the job and the company so don’t be afraid to show how keen you are to join them.
Last impressions: Most interviews finish with the candidate being asked if they have any questions. It can be tempting to say no and rush out as quickly as possible. But this is actually one of the most important parts of the interview. Not only is it an opportunity for you to find out more about the role and the business, but this is the last impression you’ll leave them with.
We always suggest preparing some questions beforehand so you aren’t scrabbling to come up with some on the day. Some may have been answered – but even just taking out the list to check shows that you have put some effort into preparing for the interview. This is also your chance to find out more about your prospective employers. Questions like – ‘how would you describe the company culture’ or ‘what do you like best about working here’ shows that you are thinking about how you’d fit into the organisation, not just whether you can do the job. There is also nothing wrong with asking when you are likely to hear about their decision – it shows you are keen and taking the process seriously.
Quick fire tips:
1. Don’t criticise current or previous employers
2. Do walk in confidently and give a firm handshake. First impressions really do count
3. Do be honest. It’s tempting to talk up your experiences and accomplishments but that can backfire if you are found out
4. Remember that the interview starts as soon as you enter the building and only finishes when you leave – until then every word and action counts!