Interviews

Ever heard of the quote, ‘Fail to prepare,  prepare to fail’ or the '5 P's - Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance'?

Interviews need not be daunting if you put in the preparation. Be clued up on the job, the organisation and what you can offer.

Top tips

  • Be positive and confident about your abilities. Go into the interview with the sole intention of being offered the position.
  • Have a clear grasp of your skillset, experience and what you can offer. Getting to the interview is a clear sign that the employer likes what they see. The interview is your opportunity to confidently articulate why they should hire you!
  • An interview is a two way process, not an interrogation so consider what you want to find out about the organisation and the role. 
  • Viewing the interview as a structured conversation may help to calm your nerves!
  • The organisation will be looking for someone that personifies professionalism, is self aware and has a positive attitude. 
  • Professionalism is based upon your Behaviour, Knowledge and Skills in relation to the role. Understanding these and your fit - your strengths, weaknesses and personal characteristics - will help you to identify how you are suitable for the role.

Practice, Perfect, Perform, Reflect

Advice:

  • Re-familiarise yourself with the job description and the person specification.
  • Be completely aware of your own skills and experience in relation to the position being applied to.
  • Re-visit your application form / CV.
  • Research the employer and consider why you want to work for them and what you need to know about them / the position.
  • Prepare answers to possible questions - consider the essential and desirable attributes for the position e.g.

questions

  • Dress appropriately - if unsure, ask.
  • Plan what you need to take with you and ensure that you know how to get there.

Advice:

  • Be professional and make a positive impact from the moment you reach the organisation - don't be late.
  • Switch your phone off!
  • Start the interview in a positive way through smiling and a 'firm but friendly' handshake.
  • If more than one person is interviewing you be sure that you address all those on the panel throughout the process.
  • Listen to what you are being asked and present a structured answer (consider using the STAR technique). Be specific to your experiences and make your answers interesting!
  • Ensure that you are answering the question that you have been asked - don't be afraid to ask for clarification if required.
  • Consider your answer before you speak.
  • Don't criticise current or previous employers.
  • Have questions for the employer and find out the next step in the process i.e.when will you find out if you have been successful. 


Example:

starexample

Advice:

  • The STAR technique is a useful way to structure your answers to any competency based questions i.e. those asking you to demonstrate a skill.
  • It stands for Situation Task Action Result. You may also add an additional 'R' for Reflection if you wish to talk about what you learnt from the process or what you may do differently in the future.
  • This is a useful technique to use both when verbally communicating your answer at interview as well as in written form on an application form.

Advice:

  • It is estimated that interviewer's first impressions are formed in the first 4 minutes.
  • 55% visual impact; 38% tone of voice; 7% what you say.
  • So.... smile and maintain good eye contact.
  • Have a confident handshake.
  • Assume a relaxed sitting position.
  • Use breathing techniques to help you calm your nerves - slowly inhale through the nose, pause, slowly exhale through the mouth.
  • Also, take note of the interviewer's body language - do they look interested?

9 simple body language tips for your next interview

Advice:

  • Always aim to get to get feedback so that you are able to learn from the process
  • Follow up the interview with an email to the person / people interviewing you to thank them for the opportunity (and to re-emphasise your interest in the position). You never know, this could make the difference if they are struggling to decide between two candidates.
  • Be proud of getting to this stage of the process, whether you get offered the position or not!



Resources

Target Jobs - How to handle a telephone interview

Prospects - 5 steps to a successful video interview

Think Confidence - The ultimate guide to interview confidence

Creative Bloq - Steps to effectively present your portfolio