The Training and Assessment Recruitment Specialist for the Further and Higher Education, Work Based Learning and corporate training sectors
Job interviews are your chance to shine, to talk about your skills and knowledge, and an opportunity to show off your personality.
Interviews can be a nerve-racking experience, but remember that it is as much a chance for you to find out about your prospective employer as it is for them to find out about you. We have prepared a list of interview tips and advice to help you on your important day:
Before the Interview
Do your research: Be prepared and demonstrate your enthusiasm by doing some research about the company and the position for which you are applying. This is your chance to impress the interviewer with your knowledge of their company. Most employers will be interested to know how much you know about them and this is a common interview question. This may also help you formulate questions to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
Research the location of the company before the day of the interview so you know exactly where you are going and if there is parking available or close public transport links. If possible, visit the outside of the premises (without going inside) before the day of the interview so that you can relax and not be flustered by trying to find it on the day. Aim to arrive 10 – 15 minutes before the interview so you have time to prepare yourself.
Prepare your answers
Try and think about the sort of questions you might be asked before the interview. This could be about your skills, experience, non work interests, difficult situations that you have managed at work, how you cope with stress and so on. Questions will be open ended so you will need to expand on your answers rather than give yes or no answers. Also be prepared to talk about why you want the job, why you think you are the best candidate and what your future ambitions are.
Don’t be too casual
Dress formally for an interview. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed and a suit would be the best form of attire. You want to come across as professional.
Take a copy of your CV with you.
Avoid smoking just before going into the interview and dispose of any chewing gum.
Check your appearance - tidy hair, clean nails, shoes and clothes will show that you are taking things seriously and have made an effort. You will probably be competing with other applicants so you want to give yourself the best possible start.
Switch off your mobile phone!
Greeting the interviewer:
Make a good impression on everyone you meet at the company as they may be asked their opinion of you later, so be courteous to anyone you meet, they may be your future work colleagues!
Shake hands firmly, offer a warm smile when introducing yourself and make eye contact.
Wait for the interviewer to offer you a chair to sit on before sitting anywhere.
When answering questions, try to:
Be enthusiastic but do not over do it – you want to come across as genuine.
Be concise, try not to ramble.
Be positive and do not dwell on the negative. It is not wise to speak negatively about your previous or current employer.
Be truthful. It is better to be honest and highlight your strengths than to fabricate your answers, as you will be found out.
If you do not understand the question being asked, do not be scared to ask for clarification.
Do not swear and try not to use slang or be overly friendly.
Use the right body language: Interviews are all about making impressions, so body language is also important.
Sit upright but comfortably, rather than leaning forward or slumping and do not be afraid to change position from time to time.
Try not to fidget, keep your hands on your lap but do use them to illustrate your point where appropriate.
Do not sit with your arms crossed in front of you.
Make eye contact with the interviewer and make sure you include everyone if being interviewed by a panel.
Above all, be natural and be yourself.
Last but not least!
Ask the interviewer questions to show your interest in the vacancy and joining the company. Think of between 3 – 5 questions before the interview. Some of them may get covered in the interview so it is better to prepare a few more just in case.
At the end of the interview: Thank the interviewer for their time. Ask what the next stage in the process is and when it is likely you will be notified about the outcome of the interview.
Do not ask the interviewer for feedback on how they thought your interview went. This puts people on the spot and may force a negative reaction. This feedback can be gained later and any feedback we get will be passed on to you.