We all know the mixed range of emotions that go hand-in-hand with an upcoming interview.The anticipation, anxiety and barrage of thoughts can be overwhelming. As an intern, I know what the stress of a big interview feels like, particularly the night before. What do I wear, how do I present myself etc, are always common questions and thoughts. So I have asked a number of experienced recruitment consultants at Admiral Recruitment on how to ace an interview.
1. Plan the journey and be on time
With applications such as Google Street View, the days of getting lost looking for a building are a thing of the past. Instead of wasting time and effort looking for a building, do your research in advance!Find out where the location is and arrive on time.
If you are meeting the CEO of the business be as polite with the person on the front desk as you intend to be with the CEO. If you’re not, I guarantee the CEO will find out.
2. Presentation is key
’Dressing to impress’ still helps to create the right first impression, as does ensuring that you make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Whilst this won’t guarantee you the job, if you make a good impression with the interviewer and you have a similar skillset to other candidates, it may prove beneficial.
3.Take the Drink
Although we often pass the offer up, accept that glass of water, a tea or a coffee as a drink can be a useful tool in an interview. It can help to act as a prop for steadying your nerves and give you time to think ahead before answering any tough questions.
4.Do your research
Know your CV inside out and know where you have done well in previous roles. It’s amazing how many people forget an element of their CV or do not know where they have excelled.
Research the company you are interviewing for and the market in which it operates. This could include finding out where its officesare located, how many employees the company has, what its target market is and any recent company news. Look at the wider sector too for further insight into market conditions and competitors.
5.Grab a note pad and pen
Take a small notepad to the interview to make notes and ensure that you have a working pen that won't run out. Not only does this show the interviewer that you are keen to take onboard information but it is a great opportunity for you to review your notes after the interview.This can be particularly useful if you receive more than one offer as something you may have written down may help to inform your decision later.
6. Engage and ask questions
Whilst an interview is mainly client-led, you should also have the confidence to use it as an opportunity to get some answers. Probe into areas that you believe are important for your long-term goals such as the state of industry, career development opportunities and the organisation’s projected business growth.
This approach shows your ambition, interest and that career development is important to you.
7. Avoid negative remarks on previous jobs
When asked why you are lookingto move, avoid negative remarks about your current or ex-employer, even if they did make your life a living hell! You are better than that. And equally, no prospective employer is going to take things forward with you for fear that there may be reprisals if you leave them one day. Instead, be positive and give the impression that you enjoyed your role but that you are looking for a new opportunity for reasons that only you will know.
8. Avoid sick and holiday questions
At the end of the interview, don’t be tempted to ask about sick pay or holiday entitlement. Remember, this is the first interview so leave those questions for the offer and negotiations stage.
9.Establish the next step before saying goodbye
Don't rush off before trying to establish what the interviewer's thoughts are. Also, try to get a timeline on how the process will move forward. It's important to gauge how things went, whether positive or negative, as soon as possible so that you have some idea of your performance. Finally, shake hands and thank your interviewer for his or her time.
10.Take the initiative
When you get home, drop the interviewer an email to thank them for taking the time to meet you.This shows your prospective employer that you are courteous and professional. Even if you don’t get the job this time, who knows what other opportunities that person or company may have for you in the future.