Job interviews are conducted in a variety of ways, and every company is different. Your first spoken contact with a future employer might be on the phone, via skype, video conference call or in a straight forward face to face meeting. You might be asked to attend 3 or 4 subsequent interviews.
Your interview may include an assessment or test which could take place either remotely or in the actual office. This is almost guaranteed if you are applying for a “graduate job” or if you are applying for a job where you will have to work with data, conduct client presentations or work with technical systems.
Apart from brushing up your technical skills and knowledge, preparation is key to ensuring you get the most out of your interview experience. We asked our team of recruitment consultants what advice they would give to anyone who is preparing for interview. Here is a list of what they came up with.
1. How to manage your nerves.
Try not to think of the interview as awkward or nerve wracking but more of a structured conversation that gives you an opportunity to shine and understand how well the job role suits what you are looking to achieve. Make sure you are punctual. and early if possible so you have time to compose yourself and be calm.
2. Ask lots of questions.
Understand what you would like to know from the interview and be prepared to ask. It’s important that you also have the chance to ask lots of questions and find out first hand if you are genuinely interested in the job and company.
3. Think about the questions you might be asked.
Put yourself in the hiring managers shoes, by asking yourself relevant questions about the tasks, competency skills needed (which can usually be found on a job spec), challenges and expectations and the cultural environment of the team. That way you will be able to give clear and concise examples that will best represent what they are looking for. If you’re not sure whether to start then you might find the following article based on Competency Based Interviews .
4. Attitude and enthusiasm is key.
Employers will certainly be looking at how well you will fit into the team dynamics, think about what impression you are giving the hiring managers, how you come across, body language and personality and how best you can demonstrate your positive energy and team skills.
5. Does dress code matter anymore?
For certain industries dress code is still important so try and mimic the culture in which you will be working. Sometimes it’s not always possible. For example if you are working in a relaxed environment and have an interview after work for a job in the city where dress code is formal, it might not be sensible to turn up at work in a suit In this instance let the hiring manager know what to expect in advance.
6. Do your research.
Turning up to an interview without doing your research is like going to an exam without a pen! It is a vital part of your interview preparation to thoroughly research the company in question. Read the ins and outs of their website, look into their competitors, read any articles online about them and check out their social media- if you do all of these things successfully you should have a good idea about their culture, what they do and what they want from you!
7. Practice makes perfect –
Why not entertain your partner, family, housemate whoever to listen to what you have to say. Going through standard interview questions (can be found on the Boyce website) and practicing your answers is a great way to prepare for any curve ball interview moments. Even better if you know anyone who works at the company you are applying to, then why not ask them about their experience and see if they can offer you any advice. This can be extremely invaluable.
8. Give yourself a break.
There is such a thing as over rehearsing and over thinking when preparing for an interview. You should allow for some spontaneity as you might not get asked all the questions you though. So make sure you give yourself a good amount of time off before an interview, whether it’s the night before, in the morning or even on route to the interview; just take a minute to switch off and be mindful.
9. Use your Recruiter
If you are working with a recruiter, make sure you use them for any extra information inside knowledge! Remember they will probably have worked with the company before and know the industry and client. Their input can make all the difference. Ask them about any tests, what the company liked/ disliked about previous candidates and what the top 3 skills are that they are looking for or perhaps have struggled to find. Treat them as your secret weapon!
10. And finally, hopefully you will enjoy meeting your next prospective employer, but don’t get too despondent if you think that, even after all this prep, the interview didn’t go very well. We often find candidates are surprised to find out that they performed better than they thought. If the interview did actually go badly (which can happen for a variety of reasons) then don’t take it personally. You wont be the only person who has not past the fist round. What is most important is to be constructive and take away any lessons learnt from the process, asking for feedback regardless of the outcome, is always helpful, so that the next time you can make sure that the outcome is much more positive.
Good luck !