Career Advice | 17 Nov 2016

Nailing the Interview

You should always arrive at an interview around 15 minutes before. Not only does it go down well with the employer, but it gives you time to catch your breath, calm yourself down, focus your mind and if you like you can have a glance over your notes as you wait to be called. Make sure you block off enough time so that you are not in a hurry back to work, you cannot rush your potential future employer. Where possible you should take the day off to focus on getting this new job. It’s no harm to bring a few extra copies of your CV, just in case there are extra people at the interview. Bring details of your referees including their phone numbers and email addresses. It’s important that you have asked for their permission. Switch off you phone before you enter the building. Greet the receptionist, security and anyone else you meet in a professional and friendly manner. You’d be surprised how many times a receptionist is asked what she thought about the candidates that came in. Don’t be afraid to ask to use the bathroom on your arrival, particularly if it’s a windy or wet day, you can comb your hair and feel confident that you still look in tact! When your meet your interviewers, give them a smile and a strong handshake. Let them lead the interview. You should listen intently throughout the interview and answer clearly when it’s your turn to respond. Don’t be afraid to give yourself time to think before speaking, it’s more important that you absorb the question and give a response that is appropriate. Be aware that if you are nervous you may speak more quickly than normal, so slow yourself down a little. Be mindful that it can look rude to interrupt interviewers. Maintain eye contact, if there are a few interviewers in the room be sure to make make eye contact with them all from time to time. Of course if one asks a question you will automatically engage with them on your response. Looking from one person to another shows that you’re capable of engaging well with people and not fearful. Try not to fidget too much. You need to show a genuine interest in the industry you are applying for. To do this, you could discuss topical news about factors that are affecting the industry or if you have an interest in the industry outside of work (e.g. through a blog or additional studies), make sure you bring this up in your conversation to further impress recruiters or employers. Bring a notebook with some questions you have about the company and the role. Always make sure you ask at least two questions at the end of an interview. This also makes you look interested in the company and the specific role up for grabs. Any questions you ask should be well considered and must show that you have a genuine interest in the role. Do not ask questions about the company or role that are already on their Website or in the Job Spec, you need to demonstrate that you have already studied these. If you know the business has just launched a new product, you can show you’ve done your research by asking them how it is going for them? You might also ask for additional information about the role that has not already been covered in the interview for example. Size of the team you will be working with, what targets will be set for you (if appropriate). Whatever questions you ask just make sure they make sense. Some very brave interviewees might ask straight out at the end of an interview “do you think I am what you are looking for?” Brave but if you feel it’s appropriate there’s no harm in asking. At the end thank your interviewers for taking the time to see you. Tell them that you are looking forward to hearing from them. Shake their hands and wait to be escorted out.
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