So you’ve been offered an interview, great! But what does it take to turn that interview into a job offer? We’ve collated some tips to help you prepare and improve your interview performance.
Practice and prepare
Once an interview has been secured it’s important to find time to prepare, and the best way to do this is to practice answering questions that are likely to be asked. Jobsites such as Reed.co.uk, Monster.co.uk and Fish4.co.uk provide some common questions and tips on how to answer them. However, make sure to consider any job role or industry specific questions the interviewer is likely to ask.
Whilst one-to-one interviews are the most common type, it is important to find out what else may be expected of you later in the process. Perhaps you’ll be expected to attend a second meeting to present a presentation in front of a panel or be asked to take part in a group interview where a number of tasks will be set.
Research the company
Knowing that your prospective employer is a manufacturer or an education provider isn’t enough, you need to know which industries they serve and any companies they may be working with. Having an idea of the company’s goals and values will be useful when selling yourself, as you can use their aims as a business to tie in with any qualities you may possess. In addition, showing an interviewer you know what the company is about displays a strong interest in being an employee for the right reasons.
Something to consider whilst researching are the type of questions you can ask. You should always ask questions about the role or the company, but remember that if they’re interviewing eight people, you want questions that have the potential to stand out.
Imagine applying for a role and being offered an interview at short notice, only to realise you have nothing to wear! It’s a good idea to ensure you have an outfit to hand as well as copies of your C.V., pens and a notepad. Being prepared to this level will give you time to focus on performing well on the day, rather than making last minute decisions on what to wear so that you look professional, how to style your hair and what to take with you.
On time means being early
You never want to walk through the reception door at the exact time your interview is due to start, make sure to arrive between 5 to 10 minutes early. Doing this will be a start in giving a potential employer some indication of your punctuality, workplace ethics and expectant behaviours.
Although turning up early is a good idea, make sure you’re not too early. If you’re instructed to arrive somewhere at 2pm and you show up at 1.30pm, it may appear that you don’t take instructions on board very well.
Stay calm and relaxed
Many of us find interviews a stressful experience, especially when starting out in our careers with little experience. Remember that when a company asks to meet after seeing your CV, they already have an idea of where you stand career and experience wise and want to determine what you’re like as a person. Therefore, tensing up, being shy or nervous may not reflect you in a positive light. Take some deep breaths before going in and take a moment before answering any questions to organise your thoughts.
Build a rapport
Any interviewee should attempt to develop a connection with an interviewer, after all, they represent the company, and if a candidate doesn’t appear to be a good fit, then they’re unlikely to be hired. It helps to perhaps carry out some basic due diligence on your interviewer and the team – any commonalities always go a long way!
How did it go?
Whether you’ve personally applied for the role or gone through a recruitment agency, you should request feedback. An agency may be able to relay how an interviewer felt about the meeting before a final decision is made, however feedback is especially important in the event you aren’t offered a role. Make sure to contact the company if no feedback or post interview contact is made.