We’ve all been there, the dreaded interview. Whether it’s for a job, work placement or academia, the phrase “we would like to arrange an interview to discuss your application further” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of all of us. I had a mock interview in uni this week, which I had to treat like a real interview that I would be likely to encounter out in the big bad world of work. I was nervous as hell (I’ve never been interviewed for anything before) so here are some tips to hopefully help anyone facing an interview in the near future!
- Dress to impress. Obviously, looks aren’t everything when it comes to interviews (the outcome is far more to do with your skills, qualities and competence to do the job) but interviewers really do make a judgement in the first 30 seconds of meeting you, and unfortunately, this can really only be based on your appearance. Don’t take it for granted when someone says to look your best, those 30 seconds could be crucial to you landing the job. And remember, you should dress appropriately for the position. Someone going for an interview to work on a building site is going to dress very differently from someone applying for a job as a lawyer, because these are two very different professions! When in doubt, ‘smart-casual’ is best!
- Create an outstanding CV. No one likes tooting their own horn, but if you want that dream position, that’s something you have to do! You need to show the interview panel that YOU are the perfect person for the job because of YOUR skills and qualities. Don’t lie! You shouldn’t have to. If you’ve made it to the interview stage then the employers are already interested in you. Use your CV as a guideline to give them more detail and a better insight into what you can bring to the table.
- Research the Company. This is sooooo important! One of the questions interviewers love to ask is “can you tell us anything about the company?” and believe me, you want to be able to answer this question! They’re testing to see if you’re serious enough about the job to have done a bit of independent research. Don’t tell them the whole history of the organisation you’re applying to, they already know it. But a few points will be enough to show that you want this particular job and that you want to work for this particular company.
- Give Examples. Don’t just state that you have excellent communication skills, show the interview panel why you have them, how you’ve developed them over the years, how they have come in useful in the past. Remember, it’s all about you, so throw in some stories of things you’ve experienced in the past to back up your statements.
- Be Yourself. The interview panel are looking for a certain individual that will be an asset to their company, and clearly their interest has been spiked by your CV, cover letter and application form. They want to meet the person that sent those documents. Don’t try to come across as something that you’re not. If you’re funny and like to have a laugh, portray this throughout your interview, while still keeping a level of professionalism. If you’re really into your sports, state this and relate it to how it enhances your team working skills. Let your personality shine through during your interview, it will calm your nerves and makes the interview feel far less like an interrogation and more like a civilised conversation.
These are just some things you can do to help you get through those dreaded interviews. Like I said earlier, we will all have to sit through them at some point or another, so it’s better to be prepared and smash it than to go in blind and completely crumble under the pressure.
Do you have any interview stories you’d like to share? Do you have any extra tips on how to smash an interview? Leave them in the comment section below.
Until next time…