The interview itself

So, you’re looking sharp and you’ve arrived in good time for the start of the interview… But that is not going to get you the job on it’s own. Now you need to show your interviewers that you are the best candidate for the role! Please see below our top tips for succeeding in the interview:

  1. Maintain good eye contact – Try and be as natural as possible and make good eye contact with your interviewers… not like you’re giving them a death stare or intently focused so as to make them feel uncomfortable but, listen attentively and focus on them whilst they are talking and try to look at them when you’re answering their questions.
  1. Be yourself – That sounds incredibly cliché but please let me explain! There is a level of ‘etiquette’ at an interview where you are expected to be more respectful and more formal than you would be during a conversation with your friends but, it is important to be as natural as possible so your interviewers can see the ‘real’ you! You don’t want to try and be someone you’re not just to tick the interviewers boxes as, if it’s not ticking your own boxes this can lead to problems further down the line should you get the job.
  1. Take your time answering the questions – don’t be in too much of a hurry to answer the questions that you’re asked in the interview. Obviously, the sooner you can answer them the better but consider your response before it comes out of your mouth because as soon as it does, you can’t take it back! Think about the reason behind the question and what they’re trying to discover from asking it, before giving an answer. Also, don’t be afraid to refer to any notes you’ve taken in with you as well. Also, if you didn’t understand the question or you didn’t quite catch all of it, don’t be afraid to ask for it to be repeated… you could just mis-hear the word ‘do’ for ‘don’t’ or ‘can’ for ‘can’t’ and you could be in all sorts of bother with your answer!
  1. Be truthful – Answer any questions as truthfully as you can and don’t try and blag too much. We all have a tendency to ’embellish’ when it comes to selling ourselves and that is ok however, don’t get carried away and make claims of things you’ve done that you haven’t. The objective is obviously to get the job but, if you’ve fabricated skills and experience then this is only going to lead to problems further down the line. This is important is because you want to make sure that the company know who they are potentially getting and you want to set the right expectation if/when you start the role. Imagine handing your notice in for a job you’re secure in and, upon coming to the end of your probationary period, being told that you haven’t been able to do what the company wanted? Draw from past examples and experiences at work and highlight your key achievements instead of what you haven’t done.

Top Tip – Perhaps have a practice run interview with a close friend who will give you some honest feedback about your eye contact and how you generally come across. Prepare some questions that you may expect to receive at an interview and see how it goes! Whilst perhaps being a bit brutal, it will help you hone your talents in order to improve your chances of smashing your interview and perhaps lighten the mood as well (as long as you pick the right friend to do it with!)

Answer the question – be clear in your answers. Take a moment to consider exactly what they are looking to find out and formulate an answer that illustrates your strengths in this area. Draw from past examples of your work and highlight your achievements. Expand on your reply, but avoid waffling and giving a never-ending answer!

Ask interesting questions – this is your chance to demonstrate your interest in the position. Ask questions that show you have thought about the company, its goals and future direction. Ask questions that show you can visualise yourself in this role, exceeding expectations and making a difference to the company.

Questions when they say “Have you got any questions for us?”

The dreaded question that comes at the end of every interview! If you say “no thanks, you’ve covered everything” it doesn’t necessarily go against you but it won’t do anything FOR you either. Here are some ideas of what you can ask at this potentially pivotal moment in the interview:

  • Ask about the Job itself
    • How long was the previous person in the role?
    • How do you see the role developing?
    • Are there any changes to the role that you would like to see made?
  • Ask about the organisation
    • What’s the strategy, are they looking to expand, consolidate?
    • Would you say this is a diverse and inclusive organisation?
    • Does the organisation encourage personal development & provide any support?
  • Ask about the interviewers
    • What made you choose this company?
    • Where do you see your career with the company in 5 years time? (you can get your own back with this one!)
    • What’s your management style e.g. hands off, hands on?
  • Ask about the Team
    • How many people are in the team?
    • How long have they been there?
    • Do they socialise together?

Asking all of these questions would probably be a bit too much but, hopefully there’s some ideas here that will help you to have one or two things in mind for the only question that you can guarantee is coming!