Interview tips – How to be successful the first time….
So, you’ve found an exciting, interesting and rewarding job vacancy that you really believe would suit you to a tee. Subsequently, you follow the well-known process of CV preparation, application and then the dreaded wait for feedback from the employer….
It’s a Wednesday afternoon and your phone starts ringing. You applied for the opportunity a few days ago and a little itch in the back of your head is telling you that this call must be in relation to your application. After a brief conversation, you put the phone down. GREAT NEWS, the stars have aligned, and the employer has shown a genuine interest in your application. They want to see you for an interview. Immediately, a confusing cocktail of feelings swirls around your body. A mixture of happiness, elation and a sense of excitement overcome you but, suddenly, the excitement morphs into a nervous uncertainty that breeds those sickly butterflies in your stomach. You are so driven to succeed and secure the position that a building pressure, doubled by your obvious eagerness, sends a range of thoughts flying through your head.
How will you deal with these nerves? How do you conduct yourself on the day? What questions should you ask? What should you prepare? These are but a few questions we have all asked ourselves in the lead up to important and potentially life changing interviews. At Interface Recruitment, we have taken some time-out to help you prepare and address these questions in the best way you can. Some people take for granted the several small and easy steps you can take towards succeeding in interviews. This blog, and those that proceed it, are written for people in all walks of life and should be used as a guide to secure those opportunities that may have otherwise been a little too overwhelming.
The guide will be delivered episodically, step by step, on a weekly basis. The result being a concise list of links that can form the foundations of your approach to every interview you undertake. However, this introduction will serve as a strong overview for the basic tips to succeeding in interviews. Our top, non-specific tips for best practice in interviews are as follows:
Be on time (EARLY)
Arriving to your interview around an hour in advance gives you ample time to settle yourself mentally and physically before the interview. This allows you time to: park your car, get a drink, find the site, sign in at reception, go over your notes etc. This seems like an all too obvious tip but, peoples’ assumptions of what early means, can in fact damage your chances before you have even started. Arriving say, 15 minutes early, is still early. But, after parking your car, grabbing your notes and frantically making your way to the building, those 15 minutes are now running awfully thin and, as time trickles away, your nerves grow with it. Allow yourself ample time to put your mind at ease and, to keep your business wear dry, clean and sweat free.
Dress Appropriately (Smart)
Again, this seems obvious and so, I will be brief. You may assume the company adopts a relaxed approach to office wear but, whatever environment you perceive, always dress smartly. You should have no fear of ‘overdressing.’ You may arrive to see nobody else in a suit or business wear BUT, this serves only to your benefit. It is a clear statement of intent and professionalism that will always be noted. Simple sophistication is a must and, try to pull back the reigns on smelling like LUSH store or, conversely, an ashtray.
Be yourself (and confident)
Honesty is one of, if not the, most redeeming feature of any individual. Thus, you should always be honest during interviews. It helps in volumes if you know yourself and, more importantly, your CV. Knowing your own CV inside out prevents any real need to be dishonest. Employers aren’t seeking a perfect individual because, well, they don’t exist. But, what they are seeking, is honesty and integrity. Everybody has made mistakes or errors in whatever role they have been in. As it happens, candidates who can identify their errors and reflect upon them, show interviewers that they are able to pro-actively improve. This is a great statement to employers as it shows your ability to learn. A brief note on confidence points towards an intriguing and eye opening TedTalks video on YouTube which works to promote positive psychology and self-confidence. I will attach the link and implore you to watch it. I guarantee that some of the tips will prove to be invaluable – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc
Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
Moving forward, our blogs will work to bulk out many of these tips. This is especially relevant to this point as there are some key, simple points to be made when planning for interviews. Momentarily however, making notes can work magic in relieving any clamminess prior to interview. Interviewers really do not mind you using and bringing your own notes and, these notes can work as an extension of all the thoughts in your own mind. Leading up to an interview, it is reassuring knowing that you don’t actually have to think about 101 different things because most of them can be written down in your notes. It is possible you may not need them moving forward but, they are certainly a good mental reinforcement.
Negativity is a sure way to cast a dark cloud over your interview. Stay positive about yourself, past employers, current affairs etc. You want to work towards radiating only positive light in your interview and thus, when addressing negative issues with previous employers for example, do so in a balanced manner.
An Opportunity to Ask
An interview is most certainly a two-way process. Yes, you will be asked a number of questions, competency based or not. However, this is an ideal opportunity to ask questions of your own. Following the main part of the interview, the employer will most likely ask – “So, do you have any questions?” – Don’t be the candidate that has nothing to say in response.
You have been presented a chance to paint your own picture about the company, you should use this to show your genuine interest and keenness. This is not the right time to delve into financials and holiday entitlement. There is a time for that, but not now. Now, you should ask questions such as; What will my day to day look like? What problems would you expect someone in my position to encounter in my first few months? How does the company reward success? Where do you see the company in 5 years? – There are a number of these questions that will be further outlined in later additions to the blog but, for now, consider these as a step towards capitalising on the chance to ask.
We hope that this small collection of simple tips form the early foundations of having success in interviews throughout your career. The top tips are a general overview of best practice and planning when going into interviews and will work to improve your chances of securing a new role. Keep your eyes on this space as more specific tips on competency questions, planning and more advice on best practice are yet to come.