You’ve studied hard, graduated and now you’ve landed an interview for the career of your dreams. Congratulations! Now let’s seal the deal with these top interview tips to help you relax and nail that all important interview!
Meeting your potential new employer can be a nerve-wracking experience so preparing yourself beforehand is crucial. This will help you feel ready for the questions you’ll be asked and feel more relaxed about the answers you’ll give, meaning you’ll be able to show your personality and feel more confident while talking about your skills and relevant experience.
During the interview there are certain things you can do to impress the person you are interviewing with and help to check off all the boxes they’re looking for. Here’s how to land the job!
“If you fail to plan, plan to fail”
Preparation is key to any good job interview - you’ll want to do enough research to really get to know who you’re (hopefully) going to be working for. Make sure you find out who the CEO is, what their vision for the future is and the company values. If you can, it’s worth finding out a bit about the person you’re interviewing with too. Head over to LinkedIn to do a bit of professional digging to find out about their skills and experiences. You’ll be able to call upon your own similar experiences and things you have in common to help build a good rapport with them and break the ice a little. After all, as much as they want to know you’ll be capable to do the job, they also want to get to know the real you too!
Employers want to see your enthusiasm for the company and the role; don’t be surprised when you’re asked “so, what can you tell me about the company?” They’ll be able to tell straight away if you haven’t done your homework so make sure you set aside at least an hour or two to practice your response ahead of time!
Here are some tips to help you get started:
“Here’s what I’m looking for…”
- Google reviews are great for finding out what their customers think
- Glassdoor shows feedback from current and past employees – this will give you a rough idea of what it’s like working for the company
- Check out their social media pages – look at what they are talking about and how they respond to their clients and the public. Take note of the tone of voice they are using as this will tell you how formal/informal they are, and you can use this to tailor your interview techniques
- Check out the CEO and the head of the department you’ve applied with; do they have professional social media pages? See what they are talking about to get a better understanding of their goals and plans for the company and who they are as a person
- Fully read and memorise the job description, this will help you understand how your skills relate to the role and why you’ll be perfect for it. Make sure you reference the key areas they’ve mentioned in the job role and what your relevant experience is in this area when you interview – it will make you stand out as the perfect candidate!
The interview isn’t just about them, it’s about you too! Everyone has their own plans, goals and dreams, and being able to explain what you’re specifically looking for gives your employer a really rounded idea of what you can offer them and what they can offer you in return.
If you want to further your skills or have dreams of working your way up the career ladder, make sure you speak up and let them know. Having a genuine career path in mind shows your employer that you are certain about your choices, that you’re dedicated to the job role and that you’ll stay a long time (no employer wants to spend time, effort and money to train you up only to lose you after a few months and have to re-hire again). It also allows the interviewer to think about how the company can support your goals if they hire you.
You’ve been asked to tell the person you’re interviewing with a bit about yourself and how your expertise matches the job role… now it’s time for you to get to know them!
Having 2-3 questions ready to ask at the interview is not only a great way to find out a little more about the role, the company and the person you’ll be working under, but it’s also a chance to show your employer that you really care about the role you’re applying for.
Some great questions to ask are:
- “What can you tell me about the position that isn’t in the job description?”
- “Where have successful employees in this position progressed to?”
- “How will you judge my success? What will need to happen in the first six months for me to know I have met your expectations?”
- “Looking at the other people who have been in this role, what are one or two things that set the top performers apart from the average performers?”
- “What tasks are really going to define my success in this position?”
- “What’s the toughest part of this job?”
- “What will the typical day look like?”
- “What’s the most unique thing about working in this company?”
- “What excites you the most about the company’s future?”
- “How long have you been with the company and what made you decide to come here?”
- “What’s your favourite part about working here?”
- “What are the next steps in the interview process?”
It’s important to think about the way you phase these questions to fall in-line with the overall voice of the company. For example, if the company is formal you don’t want to turn up in jeans and a shirt and use colloquial language. Make sure you’re dressed to impress but still within the overall ‘feel’ of the company that you’re applying for, and pay attention to the wording, tone and terminology your interviewer is using – you can use these as clues as to how to word your answers accordingly. If in doubt, it’s always better to be dressed smartly so opt for a suit over jeans every time!
- Arrive five to ten minutes early to show that you are punctual and give yourself time to relax. If for any reason you are running late, call ahead and be honest about what’s holding you back. Use your journey time to listen to some of your favourite music and relax before your interview
- Turn off your phone! You don’t want any texts or calls to disturb your time during the interview
- Use confident body language: sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eyes and use animated but natural hand gestures to get your point across
- When listening to the other person talk, listen intently, hold eye contact, show a positive attitude and nod to show that you are engaged in the conversation
- Ask them what the next steps are after your interview and when you’re likely to hear back. You could then ask to take the email address of the person you’ve just interviewed with to stay in-touch as things move forward
- Work on your handshake so it’s firm and professional – no-one likes a weak handshake
- If you haven’t heard back after a week, (unless you were told differently in the interview) it’s a good idea to send a follow up email to see how the hiring decision is going and ask if there are any further questions they may have for you
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