Our 6 Step Guide For a Successful Interview
Most of us find interviews pretty nerve racking but the key to feeling calm and collected on the big day is to prepare well in advance. Before the interview it’s important you fully research the company and the role you’re applying for, this will help you come up with questions to ask on the day and also to make sure the job is right for you.
Try and find out what type of interview it might be so you’re not thrown on the day – expecting an informal chat with HR is completely different to having a formal interview by a group of senior management. Will there be a test? Is it a competency based interview? Will there be role-play?
Do you need to prepare a presentation or take a work portfolio?
Have they asked you specific questions or mentioned certain topics in advance that they might be discussing with you during the interview?
We’ve put together a 6 point plan to help you get prepared so you can walk into that interview feeling confident:
1. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation
- It may seem obvious but be sure to research the company first. Check out their website, any USP’s they may have and find out where they operate (check to see if they have any other sites).
- Take a look at the ‘Meet the Team’ page and familiarise yourself with the company and the team, this will make you feel much more comfortable on the day.
- Be sure to prepare some questions to ask. Interviews are a two-way street, this is your chance to check them out vice versa.
- Try to prepare some answers for questions they might ask you. Be self-critical and consider any weaknesses you might have or concerns they may have, i.e. time gaps in your CV, reasons why you left your last role or any qualifications you don’t have. Be ready for those tricky questions and how you can best respond to them.
- What are your Unique Selling Points? Why should they hire you over someone else? Be confident in your knowledge, skills, experience and expertise and let your enthusiasm and personality shine through.
2. Practise, Practise, Practise
- A really useful tip is to practice talking in front of a mirror or a friend or family member, especially if you have to make a presentation.
- Check the timings, refine and rehearse it and then once you’re done repeat the process.
- Go through your prepared questions, USP’s, answers for predicted questions and knowledge of the company and what they do.
- Plan the journey and make sure you know how long it will take you to get there.
- Always leave plenty of time to get to the interview and take into account traffic, public transport, parking, etc. The last thing you want is to turn up to the interview flustered and stressed.
4. Self Presentation
- Prepare your interview outfit, dressing well can help boost your confidence as well as making a good impression. The same goes for virtual interviews over the internet, they will still want to see that you made the effort and you look presentable.
- Turn off electronic devices so you can give your interviewers your undivided attention.
- If you are having a virtual interview ensure that you will not be interrupted by anyone and that background noise is to a minimum and that there is nothing inappropriate that can be seen on the camera.
5. Body Language
- Take some time to practice body language techniques. You want to appear interested, open and friendly – be engaging and maintain eye contact so your interviewers will be more receptive.
6. What to take?
- Find out if you are required to take any examples of work/portfolio.
- Ask if you need to prepare a presentation or bring any documents.
- Take a notepad and pen so you can take notes during the interview, especially if you think of a question related to something they say that you want to ask at the end.
- Photo ID (if necessary)
- Qualification certificates (if necessary)
- Copy of your CV (if necessary)
Extra Tips for Virtual Interviews
- Check your WiFi/network connection and do a quick test before the interview starts.
- Check the sound, again, do a test before the interview and make sure you are going to be able to hear the interviewer clearly. Likewise, make sure your microphone is working so they will be able to hear you.
- Check the camera angle. If you can’t see you then they won’t see you either!
- Check if you need to download any software so you can ‘connect’ with the interviewer.
- Don’t panic if you experience any technical hiccups. These things happen even if you’ve done all your pre-checks. If you can fix it and re-join then great but if not just apologise and re-schedule.
- Find a good location for the interview. Ensure it is clean, tidy and professional. Make sure the lighting is good so the interviewer can see you properly. Try to relax and avoid looking around the room during the interview as you may come across as disinterested and distracted.
- Turn off phones, radio’s etc.
When Your Interview has Finished
- After the interview remember to thank them for their time and ask about the next steps in the process and when you might hear back from them.
- If they’ve asked you to follow up on something then make sure you do so.
- Don’t be afraid to chase them up if you don’t hear back from them by the time they said you would.
So don’t put it off (and definitely don’t leave it until the last minute), get organised, do your research and you’ll be able to face the interview with confidence and flair to help you give that winning performance you’re hoping for.
It would be great to hear about your previous interview experiences, is there anything which really stood out that could help others?
Got an interview coming up? Best wishes, get prepared, follow these steps and you won’t need any good luck!