Most people dread interviews. However, since they are a necessary part of looking for a new job, it makes sense to know how to handle them. Here are our 10 tips for interview success.
Tips 1 – 5 for interview success:
1: switch off your phone
Don’t just silence it, switch it off. Receiving a call or text when you’re in an interview won’t put you in the interviewer’s good books.
2: re-read the job description
The job description will remind you of the main points of the role you are applying for. Scan the requirements for the job. This will help you gauge the kinds of questions you might be asked.
3: dress for success
Dress smartly. Wear attire that other employees tend to wear (unless it’s a uniform).
4: always take an umbrella
The great British weather can always surprise. There is nothing worse than being caught out in a freak shower and turning up to your interview soaked to the skin.
5: research the company
Few people do this. Knowing the background and history of the company could be useful. It shows you’ve done your homework and you’re engaged in the process.
Tips 6 – 10 for interview success:
6: turn up early
Don’t arrive at the interview more than 15 minutes early but do make sure you arrive at the location early. It’s better to assume the train will be cancelled or the traffic will be heavy. If you’re early, grab a coffee (and have a mint afterwards).
7: try and relax
Easier said than done. However, don’t be afraid to express yourself. You might be nervous, but you should come across as friendly and open. Smile when you meet the interviewer. Deep breathing exercises can help if you find situations like this tough to handle.
8: have some questions ready for the interviewer
While the focus is on you, you will get an opportunity to ask questions. Make sure you use it. If you prepare some questions, it shows you have done your homework.
9: turn negatives into positives
“What is your biggest weakness?” This could well be the question interviewees dread the most. So, prepare for it. And be sure to turn your answer into a positive.
For example, you may fare better working independently rather than as a member of a team. In this case, you could say you find it harder working in a team rather than alone. However, you’ve improved in this area by taking a course on teamwork, or consulting with your manager, or taking on team projects more often. You get the idea.
10: know how to respond to scenario questions
Many interviewers will set up scenarios and ask you how you would respond to them. You know these will be related to the job you are applying for. It’s impossible to fully plan for these, but make sure you put a positive spin on them. If you are interviewing for a customer-facing role, you may well be asked what you would do when faced with an angry customer, for instance. Explain how you’d handle it and resolve the situation professionally and courteously.
Bonus tip for interview success
Finally, and as a bonus tip for interview success, always follow up. Send an email to HR or the person who interviewed you, thanking them for their time. It puts your name in front of them again and shows you are grateful for the opportunity to speak with them. It might even tip the balance in your favour.
You may be asked to complete a number of different employment tests as part of the interview process. You can practice some of these tests here.