Great news, the wonderful CV you wrote with the help of our CV writing tips post has got you a job interview! This is an important chance to sell yourself to the interviewer and show them why they don’t need to look any further. Interviews can be incredibly nerve-wracking even for those seasoned to it; you need to keep a cool head and read here to find out how to ace it!
You cannot rewrite what someone first thinks of you; with this in mind, you need to make sure that everything leading up to and including your interview is professional and enthusiastic. Ensure you are on time, check the route beforehand and leave extra time, maybe even do a dry run before if you get time. If you cannot arrive at your interview on time the interviewer will think you won’t be able to make it to work on time either. Make sure you are dressed neatly, research into what current employees wear however you can’t be too overdressed for an interview. A great tip is addressing your interviewer by name when you greet them with a firm handshake. Furthermore, it is likely your interviewer will have looked you up prior to meeting you, google yourself and check what they will see; if you would show your granny everything on the first three pages: you’re safe.
It is always good to show that you have researched the company you are interviewing with and it is likely they will ask you what you know about them. Do some research and learn basic facts, like if they have other offices open and if so where, and any of their big clients etc. Make sure you thoroughly look at their website, including the ‘about us’ section and also their social media accounts. This research will also help you to devise any questions you may want to ask them at the end.
Body language and nerves
How you hold yourself will say a lot about you to the interviewer, it’s easy to get caught up in the nerves and start fiddling with things such as jewellery or pens but this may come across as distracting to the interviewer and take away from what you are saying. Furthermore, gesturing when speaking can aid in communication and bring an extra animation to a story but you need to be careful not to go overboard as this again may be distracting. In order to come across professional and confident, you should sit up straight and not slouch in your chair. If they can see your legs try not to look too relaxed; smile and maintain eye contact with your interviewer.
Providing you have done all the necessary preparation, you shouldn’t be feeling too nervy, however, they can affect you quite badly especially if it’s for your dream job! Stay aware of your breathing throughout to ensure you come across as confident and calm, if you notice you are beginning to feel stressed take a sip of water and some subtle deep breaths.
Everyone has to do a number of interviews before they’ll start to feel somewhat comfortable. It is a good idea to practice your answers to common questions you may be asked, do it with friends or film yourself. You can get honest feedback from others and we are our own worst critic, so if you are happy with your answers then chances are your interviewer will be too.
Recruiters see an open vacancy at a company as a problem or a gap that they need to fill, you need to present yourself as the solution to that problem.
Opt for silence instead of rambling, if you are asked a question that catches you off guard you can take a few seconds to gather your thoughts before you answer instead of speaking straight away and trying to pick up the pieces as you go along. Having a glass of water is great for this as you can calmly take a sip as you think. Take your time and give a meaningful and concise answer.
Know how to sell yourself; make sure you are aware of not only your key strengths but also any weaknesses. Practice how you can highlight the attributes that you believe to be the best and tailor them for the role you are applying for. It is also important that you can put a positive spin on your weaknesses; for example, if you are a perfectionist, it is best not to use this word as they may think you will nit-pick everything and make things a little difficult, instead explain how you have high standards for your work and yourself. Also if you are shy or lack confidence, try and spin it to come across as focus and hard working.
Inevitably you will be asked about your last role and why you left there; luckily they will likely have experienced the same situation and so shall sympathise to an extent. When responding to this question, make sure you keep it brief as this will help to keep the tone from becoming negative and keep smiling. When you smile whilst answering, it will help to maintain positivity and will stop you from leading the conversation to where you speak badly of your last employer. Touch on any issues you faced, but make sure you explain how you handled the situation and maintained good working relationships.
Now it’s your turn to ask the questions and don’t feel like you are limited to just one. Try to stay away from questions about annual leave and the benefits of the job; prepare questions before that show you have understood the company and what they do. However, it is always best to try and link one of your questions to an earlier conversation you have held in the interview.
Leave them wanting more
It’s never good to trail off towards the end of an interview and leave them disappointed. Do what you can to show them that there is more to you; ask if they require anything else to show what you have done previously such as; samples of your work or anecdotal evidence. Most importantly, make sure you thank anyone who has interviewed you.
Follow up with a thank you email the following day, this will show the interviewer that you are still thinking about them and the role; also refresh you in their mind. Keep it personal instead of a readymade template with their name pasted in; you don’t want to get lazy at the last hurdle after all the effort that went into writing your CV and the interview. Connecting to them on LinkedIn will also help to promote yourself within their eyes and expand your network.
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