Before the Interview
So, you’ve acquired the help of a recruitment consultant; because let’s face it, job hunting is tough, and they will have the industry knowledge, network and time to do the majority of the legwork for you (hurrah!). You send over your snazzy CV, you talk through your experience, discuss what it is that you are looking for and the hunt begins. They have several exciting opportunities, employers like the sound of you and (hey presto!) you have been invited in for an interview. Great job! ... but it’s not over. You might be the perfect fit, this may be the job of your dreams, but first and foremost you must present yourself well in the interview. So, we have put together top tips to help you make a fantastic first impression.
You should be given all of the information you need well in advance of your interview - if something has been missed, don’t be afraid to ask your recruitment consultant - your consultant will let you know who the interview will be with, how long it will last and if you are expected to bring anything with you (such as your passport and NI number). Most interviews will be one-to-one, one to panel or a group discussion. If they haven’t specified, or there is any other information that you would like to know, your consultant will have a strong enough relationship with hiring managers to find out for you.
When adding interview dates to your diary, note down the company, job title and anything else that makes it unique; that way, you are less likely to get them confused when you have more than one to attend. If they have asked you to prepare or bring any documentation, make sure that you organise them nicely for handing over. If the interviewer hasn’t requested any specific documents, it's best practice to bring a few copies of your CV, cover letter and your proof of ID. Where possible, send your documents over electronically ahead of your interview time and bring a physical copy with you.
Don’t be late
There is no bigger deal-breaker than tardiness. Quadruple check the date, time and location of the interview. Traffic and public transport are unpredictable at the best of times - especially if you are travelling into a busy town or city centre - all it takes is a road closure or an unruly overhead wire to completely throw your commute time. So, when planning your journey, prepare for unexpected delays and give yourself extra time on top of your allocated extra time. That being said, don’t be too early. Arriving ten minutes before your scheduled interview time is sufficient. If for any reason you are unable to make it, give as much notice as possible by letting them know as soon as you do.
Do your research
With the entire internet at your disposal, it’s now easier than ever to do so. Things to look out for:
- Check out their website. What do they say about themselves, what is their mission, and do they have an organisational chart?
- Who founded the business and how long has it been established for?
- What are the company’s main ethos/values?
- What products/services does the company provide?
- Who are there competitors?
- What kind of content are they creating/sharing on their social platforms? Have you connected with them? Can you engage with any of their content?
- Read through other job descriptions, make sure you know what’s out there, what makes this role different but also the main requirements of a job like this.
Prepare some answers
What is it that makes you stand out from similarly qualified candidates? Look for the keywords and qualities that the job description highlights, then tailor your responses around your suitability for the role. Be ready to talk about yourself.
- What are your biggest achievements to date?
- What made you choose this company?
- What makes you suitable for this role?
Interviews are all about showing how you are the right fit for the role. Don’t wait for them to ask, tell them why they should employ you. You can’t prepare for every question - and it’s probably best that you don’t as you don’t want to sound scripted - but noting down some key talking points to move around will help to keep you on track and prevent you from rambling. It is also best practice to prepare a couple of questions to ask the interviewer (about the business and the role), it will show the hiring manager that you are just as interested in them as they are in you.
Recording yourself is the best way to check your tone, grammar and pronunciation. If the camera puts you off, perhaps ask a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you to get some constructive feedback.
Dress for the job you want
Since you have researched the company, you should have a decent idea as to their dress code - so you can plan your outfit to fit in. Check the weather in advance and dress appropriately. Keep it conservative: expressing your personality is important but you want your interviewer to remember you for your suitability for the role (not your bold watch or snazzy hairdo). Try on your planned outfit well in advance to avoid the mid-morning manic of trousers being a little short or tops being a little too tight (we’ve all been there); leave yourself enough time to buy (or borrow) something new.
Panic Prevention (the night before)
Get your interview outfit ready: whether that’s ironing your shirt, polishing your shoes or simply making sure that it’s all in one place, ready for the morning. Trust us, it will save you time and stress. Reread the job description of the role that you’re applying for. That way, it is fresh in your mind, you won’t confuse it with others, and you will know which relevant skills/experience you need to highlight during the interview.
What’s the worst that can happen? If you don’t get this job, there are plenty of others worth applying for. Once you are there, don’t stress - you have prepared all you can - try to stay as calm as possible. If you can feel yourself getting worked up, take a deep breath, slow yourself down and answer when you are ready.
You’ve got this, we believe in you.
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