Interviews can be nerve wracking and can raise the anxiety levels in even the most capable and confident candidates. However, if you approach any interview in the right way, you can give a good account of yourself. We can’t guarantee you’ll get the job but by following our advice, you can guarantee that you will give yourself the best chance possible.
Before The Interview
The most important thing you need to do before your interview is to do your research. It’s vital that you dedicate several hours to researching the company, the role itself and its place in the market if you are going to give your interviewers a good impression. Some areas to concentrate on include:
- The company: Check out the company history and how it was founded. How has it gotten to where it is today? What are the company’s strengths? What is their strategic vision? Where are they going?
- Their market: Look at the market your prospective company operates in. Are they a local, regional, national or multinational company? Where are they in that market? Are they a market leader? Are they up and coming? Are they innovative and disrupting the market?
- Their competition: Who are the company’s competitors? How do they compare the company you are applying to work for? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Are they expanding or contracting?
- Your prospective role: Research the job you are applying for. What will your duties be? Who will you report to? Where does your role fit within the larger organisation?
Prepare Interview Answers
You’ll never know exactly what you will be asked in an interview but you can research the type of questions that you may be asked. For example, you’ll generally find that you’ll be asked some general questions such as:
- Tell us about yourself
- Why do you want to work here?
- Why do you want to leave your current role?
- Where do you see yourself in 1/5/10 years time?
You may be asked all, some or none of these but it doesn’t do any harm to prepare for these common interview questions. You should also look at preparing some answers for behavioural questions that are popular in many interviews. These are questions such as:
- Describe a time when you have failed
- Describe a time when you have had to deal with a difficult customer
- Describe a time when you have had to work to strict deadlines
These sort of questions are designed to see how you act in particular situations and are best answered using the STAR structure:
- Situation – Describe the situation and the context of your example
- Task – Describe the task or the problems you were facing.
- Action – Talk about what action you took and why you took it.
- Result – What was the result? Were there any other outcomes?
Clothing And Transport
As well as preparing for the interview, you should also ensure that you have appropriate clothing for your interview as well as ensuring that you get to your interview on time. That means having all of your clothes ready the night before and checking how you are going to get to the interview. Keep checking just in case there are traffic or public transport problems and always leave in plenty of time to allow for disruptions. There really is nothing worse than being late for an interview.
The Interview Itself
If you’ve prepared well for your interview, the hard work has been done and you should now be in a position to perform well.
Take The Lead From The Interviewer
Once invited into the interview, let yourself be invited to sit down by your interviewers. They are in charge of the interview so it is up to them to take the lead. If they offer you a drink, don’t be afraid to accept one. Throats can get notoriously dry during an interview so it can actually be very handy to have a drink to ease it a little.
Relax And Smile
Yes interviews can be very nerve wracking but if you’ve done your research and prepared well there’s no reason to be anxious. Relax as best you can and smile. This will immediately give you a positive body language and this will come across well with your interviewers. Remember, your interviewer may well be someone you work alongside if you get the job and they won’t want to work with someone who is a complete misery will they?
Answer Completely But Concisely
When you answer the interviewer’s questions, do so as completely as you can but try to keep your answers concise and don’t wander off the point. Your interviewers will be looking for the key skills and experiences they require in your answers so don’t wrap your answers in a lot of irrelevant waffle.
One part of interviews that many people dread is the end of the interview where the interviewer invites them to ask questions. So many people cannot think of anything to say and think that this puts them in a bad light. It doesn’t necessarily but it is an opportunity that you should use to your advantage. How? By asking this question:
Is there anything that you don’t think I have covered or anything that you would like me to expand on?
This is a brilliant question to ask at the end of an interview as it shows you as someone who wants to perform as well as you can at interview. It also gives you a chance to go over any areas again that you may not have answered as comprehensively as you could have. Ask this at the end of your interview and your interviewer will be seriously impressed and it can really help you get that little bit closer to landing the job.
After The Interview
Once you have completed your interview, that’s it, there’s nothing more that can be done directly. But you can go over the interview in your head and see if there were any areas that you could have improved upon. You can use the lessons learnt in any subsequent interviews.
The other thing you should do is to follow-up your interview if you haven’t had a decision within a week or so. This is always a proactive move to make and is a positive sign to the companythat you want the job and it could tip the balance if they haven’t decided yet. If the decision does ultimately go against you, don’t lose heart and don’t be afraid of asking for feedback from the company or your recruitment consultant if you have used one. This will enable you to understand why you didn’t get the job and learn the lessons for when you get another job interview.
Like we said at the start of this article, we can’t guarantee that you’ll get every job you get an interview for. But by using the tips above, you will put yourself in the best possible situation and you’ll land that dream job sooner, rather than later.[sgmb id=1]