Are you looking to secure your dream role this year but absolutely hate interviews? Have you been invited to your first ever interview and have no idea what is expected of you? Do not worry either way, as we have listed our ‘Top 5 Interview Tips’ below to ensure you ace your interview!
1.Prepare for your interview beforehand (think of the LOR acronym!)
L – Location. One way to stress yourself before an interview is not knowing exactly where you are going and your estimated journey time. Take time to research the company’s location and use Google Maps to see exactly what your journey time will be. Allow for traffic on your route and buy any train tickets before to eliminate that stress. It is always best to arrive 10-15 minutes early as you can take some time to find the building on time and compose yourself before the interview. Being slightly early always makes you look keen to the interviewer – arriving late due to traffic isn’t going to make a great impression!
If your interview is online, make sure to test that the video link works beforehand and that you have great lighting and camera positioning. Make sure to sit with light from a lamp or a window shining at you rather than behind you and test that your camera and microphone are working.
O- Outfit. One thing that we always say to candidates is dress to impress. The interviewers first impression of you is going to heavily affect the outcome of the interview, so jeans, trainers or hoodies are not going to be appropriate for an interview setting. Make sure that you dress in a corporate manner, such as a suit or a formal business dress or skirt and shirt/trousers. Also make sure to dress in comfortable footwear and clothing, as wearing uncomfortable items may put you off in the interview. Make sure your clothes are ironed and that you look tidy and presentable for your interview, and you’ll be certain to make a great impression.
R- Research. This part is crucial, as it is essential that you research both the industry and firm beforehand. Search the firm online and look at their website as well as any recent news stories, blog posts or annual reports that have been published to get a real picture of how both the industry and company are performing. Social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are also great for this as any key events or updates happening at the company should be on here. Make sure to remember some of the key points and bring these up at interview!
2.Study the Job Description Beforehand
Our next top interview tip and of the best ways that you can prepare for your interview is to study the job description for the role. The description will detail all the key skills and attributes that they are looking for and the responsibilities that you will have to complete in the role. You need to make sure that you are very familiar with this as they may ask you questions that link your skills to the job description and try to test your knowledge of the role.
3.Study your CV and Link it to the Job Spec
Another great interview tip is to study your CV beforehand. Take a look at all of your past roles, experiences and skills and compare this to the job description. Think of how each experience links to those on the job description and how you can really sell yourself when they ask questions. Familiarise yourself on all roles and dates too so that you can confidently present yourself when asked questions such as ‘tell me about yourself’ or “what were you doing at this time”.
4.Prepare for Questions
Prepare to answer questions: The interviewer will definitely ask you lots of questions about yourself so make sure to be prepared for all the different styles of questions that come at you. These could be:
- Strength based: These questions include being asked about your key strengths and asking what you feel your strongest skills and behavioural traits are. Make sure to think of these beforehand and answer confidently and with a great example to back this up.
- Situational based: These types of questions ask you to describe a certain situation you have been in, for example “can you describe a time when you have gone above and beyond to provide fantastic customer service?”
- Technical questions: These questions are more common for roles in say IT or Engineering. The interviewer may ask you to demonstrate your knowledge for a certain topic, eg ‘soldering’ or ‘PCB boards’.
When answering questions, the STAR method is always a great way to structure your answer. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. Answering a question using the STAR method means describing:
- Situation: Describe the situation you were in when the example happened e.g. “When in my role at X as a Sales Executive”
- Task: Explain the task that you were asked to perform and the goal e.g. “I was asked to find way to increase bookings from people that had attended the venue in the past but hadn’t returned in 5 years”
- Action: Describe to the interviewer exactly what you did to achieve the task e.g. “Therefore, I went above and beyond and discovered and contacted 30 customers, logging my progress on a system for all to see to ensure no overlap.”
- Result: Conclude with the results of the action you took e.g. “This resulted in 10 sales and £50,000 in revenue for the company and great relationships built for the future”.
Asking questions: One of the worst things that you could do in an interview is have no questions prepared to ask at the end. Having no questions prepared shows disinterest in the role, and so you must ensure to think of some great questions. To help, we have listed a few good ones below:
- What will my responsibilities be?
- What would my day to day look like?
- How many people are in my team?
- What is the office culture like?
- Are there any exciting projects that you have been working on?
- What is your favourite thing about working here?
5.Interact with the Interviewer and Follow Up Afterwards
As well as being on time to your interview and looking the part, interacting and building rapport with the interviewer is crucial. Make sure that you know your interviewers name beforehand so you can greet them with a big smile and by name for that personal touch. Researching the interviewer on LinkedIn is also another great tip as you can learn vital information about what they do at the company. The interviewer probably also feels awkward at the beginning of the interview just like you, so asking them how their day has been or making friendly chat at the beginning can really help the both of you relax into the process. Make sure to maintain eye contact (no staring!) and show interest whilst also showing your enthusiasm.
After your interview, make sure to sincerely thank the interviewer for their time and send a follow up email to express your gratitude and interest in the position.
Thank you for taking the time to read our blog today about our ‘Top 5 Interview Tips’. We wish you luck for your upcoming interviews. If you would like the chance of interviewing at your dream role and putting the top 5 interview tips into practice, why not check out our ‘Find a Job’ page today! For a video format of our ‘Top 5 Interview Tips’, watch our TikTok video!