One of the most important things to remember when you go for a job interview is that the company is interested in you, otherwise they wouldn’t be interviewing you for the job. So the best thing to do is be yourself and take the opportunity to showcase your personality, skills and experience as much as you can.
There are, however, a few techniques that will help you to give your best during the interview.
First is, body language. Make sure that you maintain regular eye contact with the people interviewing you. It’s important to present yourself as friendly but professional, so also remember to smile, stand up straight and don’t slouch. A firm handshake will also make a good impression, and this is another time where good eye contact is vital.
Make sure you are comfortable throughout the interview. This means turning up about ten minutes early (which also helps to make a good impression) so that you are not in a rush and do not arrive looking flustered. Go to the toilet before your interview, and if you’re feeling nervous have a small drink of water.
Check your appearance before the start of the interview. You should also use this time to ensure that your phone is set to silent, that way you know you are confident that you are 100 percent ready for the interview without any interruptions.
Throughout the interview itself, don’t be afraid to take your time to answer the questions put to you. If you are unsure how to answer, take a deep breath and pause for a moment before beginning. The interviewers will know that you have to think before answering some questions, and it is certainly better than rushing into answering a question before you know where your answer will be going. If you are unsure what they are asking, don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat or clarify the question.
A good way to approach some questions is with the STAR technique – Situation, Task, Action, Result. Some questions will require you to provide an example of how you have demonstrated your skills in certain situations, and the STAR technique helps identify and explain this in a structured and memorable way.
Remember to be specific with your answers and try to relate them to your experience, skills and the company as much as possible.
Don’t forget, the people interviewing you know and expect that you may be nervous so there’s no reason to be embarrassed about feeling so.
Preparation is the key to success and it is absolutely imperative that you prepare properly for a successful interview.
Firstly, do your research. Make yourself entirely familiar with the company – its history, its role, its competitors, its products, and any current news that is relevant to or affects the company or the sector that it’s in. You will be expected to have quite a good amount of knowledge of the company at the interview and this is something that you cannot really ignore.
Also ensure you have a good understanding about the job that you are applying for and what it will involve.
Use our section on ‘Interview Questions’ to prepare answers for every question that could come up. You don’t need to rehearse or memorise these answers, it’s just useful to have an idea about what you can say for different questions.
Before your interview, try to get as much practice as possible.This will provide you with good tips and feedback, as well as familiarising you with an interview situation. It could also help to run through a practice interview with a friend or family member. Get used to talking about yourself out loud and selling your skills and experience – it will make it seem less daunting and strange by the time of your real interview.
Don’t forget to also bring copies of your CV and any other relevant information that may be useful for the interview. Usually you will not be expected to do this, but it will make a good impression and help explain your answers.
Another important thing to do before the interview is think of any questions that you would like to ask the people interviewing you, after all, they could soon be your employer. Many interviewers will ask at the end of the interview whether you yourself have any questions – make sure that you always ask at least one question. Potential employers will be interested to find out what you would like to hear about the company and role, and it makes a very good impression if you ask a useful question. Those who don’t ask questions run the risk of looking under-prepared and not as enthusiastic.
Finally, ensure you are on top form on the day of your interview by making sure that you have had a good night’s sleep and a decent breakfast – yawning candidates with stomachs rumbling are never going to make a good impression.
Although there are many questions that you may be asked in a job interview, there are many which are usually expected to crop up and you should be prepared for.
-Why do you want the job?
-Why do you think you will be good for the role?
-What skills and experience can you bring to the company/role?
As well as scenario or situation based questions such as:
Give me an example when you have…
…taken on a leadership role.
…been confronted by a challenge.
…worked to a deadline.
…learnt from a mistake.
Questions may also be asked about your personality, like:
-What is your best quality?
-What is you biggest flaw?
-How would your friends describe you?
-Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
-What motivates you?
You should also be prepared to answer questions about your previous employment and other experience you have listed on your CV.