Successful Interview Techniques
You have found the job you want and applied, your job application must have made a good impact and you have now been asked to attend an interview. To create the right impression there are some simple steps that you can follow to impress your interviewers.
Research the company
Find out about the company: who is who, what the company does, and the history of the company. This will give you confidence should you be asked any question on what the company does. You could contact the company to ask for an information pack or have a look at their website.
Plan for the interview
Find out what the interview will involve to make sure you’re prepared. Gather together the information you’ll need and remember to take a copy of your CV or application form to refer to.
Prepare notes or cue cards if you think you might need a prompt during the interview. Don't forget to take any items the employer has asked you to bring along - for example: references, certificates or your driving licence.
Re-read the job advert and your application form to refresh your memory before you go in.
Prepare answers for these common questions:
- Why do you want to work here and what skills do you have?
- What makes you think you are the right person for this job?
- What did you do in your last job?
- Why have you had so many jobs or only one job?
- What makes a good team member?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How often were you absent from your last job?
- Do you have any questions for us?
It is always good to have a couple of prepared questions for your prospective employers to show your enthusiasm, you could ask about progresion routes or perhaps other roles that interest you. You might find that your prepared questions have already been answered at this point, so you can say exactly that, that the interview has covered your queries.
Practice answering questions (either talk to a friend or talk to yourself) so you get used to answering them. Think of the best examples that show your strengths - it might be hard to think of them during the interview.
Plan your journey
Make sure you know how to travel to the interview and how long it will take. If you are not sent details, phone the employer and ask for directions, bus routes or details of where you can park your car. Use Google Maps and Street View so you can recognise when you get there.
Plan a second way of getting there in case something unexpected happens (such as your car breaking down, or your train being cancelled).
Make sure you take a contact number so you can call them if you are likely to be delayed. You should aim to arrive about ten minutes before the interview time. When you arrive give your name to the receptionist or whoever is there to greet you.
If you have a disability, let them know in advance, all employers must make reasonable adjustments for you to have an interview.
Plan your look
Deciding what to wear for the interview will depend on what sort of work you will be doing. For men, a suit is usually the best choice. Prepare your clothes the day before. You don’t need any last minute repairs, cleaning or ironing! Aim for a neat, clean and tidy appearance. If you look good it will help you feel good.
During the interview
Accept that it is natural to be nervous and that you may have a fast heartbeat, clammy hands and ‘butterflies’ in your stomach. You will make an impression in the first few minutes and it takes this time for people to assess you. If you're nervous your voice may sound shaky and squeaky so practice deep, slow breathing before you get to the interview. Sometimes it is ok to apologise at the beginning and say that you are feeling nervous, this usually breaks the ice and can help you feel better. Often the interviewers are nervous too!
Always think before you speak and do not rush into answering straight away and if you don’t understand a question, ask for more detail.
After the interview
Give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself to something that makes you feel good! Whether you get the job or not you have endured the process of an interview!
If you have not heard back or would like some feedback on how your interview went, do not be shy to ask for comments, constructive criticism will always help for any further interviews you attend in the future.