Handy Interview Tips

Apparently i’m the small percentage of people that actually like job interviews…i mean of course I get a little nervous but I see it as such a fantastic time to promote yourself and when do you ever have an opportunity to sit down, blow your own trumpet and really shout about yourself?

As you may know I have recently got a new job and I wanted to share my tips for succeeding in an interview in the hope it will give you more confidence and the boost you need to secure a new role!

Lets talk preparation…..

Preparation is SO important and something which I did not always take the time to do.  From experience I promise if you prepare you will be so much more relaxed and this will come across to the employee too!

Familiarise yourself with your CV as they are bound to ask you to talk through it, just highlight what steps you have taken throughout your career with a brief overview of your roles.

Tell me about yourself… I used to never know what to say this one..it’s best to sum yourself up in relation to the role you are interviewing for.  For example if I was interviewing for a head chef role I would explain that I enjoy cooking, using new flavours, coming up with new ideas, love visiting different restaurants of all types and reading food blogs.  If it was a fashion role I would say reading fashion magazines, researching fashion through the ages, attending fashion shows etc… You may not want to go into loads of detail about your personal life but it’s always good to tell them something funny or quirky to show another side of your personality like if your cat has three legs or something.

Print out a copy of the job description and start to highlight the key skills they are looking for, for example…are they looking for a team player or maybe a problem solver?  Once you have highlighted these think of examples how you have displayed these requirements.

It is important to use the STAR technique to ensure your answers are as detailed and structured as possible.

What situation was the situation?

What task where you faced with?

What action did you take?

What result was achieved?

Every interview I have had the company have asked me what I know about them.  This is something I dread as I want to be sure I can describe their company well enough to convince them I really have researched what they do and that I am interested in the role.  I tend to google them and write 2/3 sentences to sum their business up in a nutshell and if I find myself drying up I then move the conversation to saying what I like most about the role that I am applying for.  This is a great transition and a good chance to explain what you find most exciting about the role.

Another favourite question companies like to ask are what are your weaknesses? My insides used to panic but since ensuring I prepare for an interview I am able to turn my weakness into a positive.  Lets pretend I am untidy and with using the STAR technique…. I could say that one of my weaknesses is that I am/was untidy meaning I wasn’t working as efficiently as I could have been, I recognised this so brought new draws and folders to store my work in, used labels and created a list each morning of jobs to do which I ticked off as completed and as I result my work productivity has increased and now I am able to help others organise their working environment.  This will demonstrate you are able to recognise your weaknesses and you are active in improving these to better yourself.

A interviewer will always ask if you have any questions you’d like to ask them at the end.  It’s not the end of the world if you don’t as they might have covered everything already but I tend to ask what they like about working there and if it’s possible to progress in the company as you want to show you are committed and want to grow in the role and company.

A day or two before the interview work out your route to see how long it takes to get there.  Figure out where to park, if you need money or maybe they are reserving you a space.  Also create an awesome playlist on your phone, iPod or CD for your car to get you in a great mood before the interview!

Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewers to repeat the question.  It’s so easy to forget the question that you have literally just asked as your mind is busy trying to think of an answer so don’t be afraid to ask again.  The interviewer will completely understand this and quite often at the start of an interview they will suggest asking for them to repeat it if you need so.  It is also a good idea to ask for the question again after you have answered to ensure you have answered the question fully.

What to wear….

It’s all about looking smart but ensuring you are comfortable.  Nothings worse than sitting down and realising your skirt is too tight, flies are broken or your boobs are almost popping out!  Dress what you think is appropriate for the job.  I usually wear black…just because I find it the ‘safe’ option so black leggings, black top or blouse, a necklace and some kind of a blazer.  I tend to paint my nails, pop a hair grip in my hair and a little makeup.. I recently read a document saying ‘girls must wear makeup, have a neat hairstyle and wear a suit’ which really frustrated me as there is no set rule book what you must do.  Just think how you would like to be perceived and i’m sure what ever you choose to wear will be just fine 🙂

Interview day….

Pop your prepared answers in your bag and make sure you arrive at least 10-15 minutes before the interview as nothing is worse than being late…if for any reason you are running late make sure you ring them straight away to let them know and apologise.

Pop a drink in your bag just incase they forget to offer you one so you can sip it if you feel a dry mouth coming on.

Once you have arrived shake the interviewers hand, look them in the eye and give them a friendly smile.  You can either get your prepared answers out of the table in front of you are leave them in your bag incase you need them.

As they start to ask you questions just try and relax, it will be over before you know it and try to absorb the information they are telling you.  Focus on the STAR technique.

Try not to bring up salary.  It’s fine if they ask you how much you expect to the paid as this has happened in my previous interviews so it’s good to have a figure in mind and reason why but it’s not generally a good idea to bring up the subject of money as it could come across that that’s all you are interested in.  If they offer you the role that’s when it’s ok to ask or if you’ve gone through an agency talk money with them.

Someone recently told me it’s a good idea to ask the interviewers if they have any doubts about you from the interview in respect to being able to complete the job…this is a difficult one as I think it all depends on the situation.  If you feel like the interview hasn’t gone well and they may be having doubts about you it may be the difference between you getting the job or not as you can iron out any worries but it comes down to personal choice.

As the interview comes to a close thank them for their time, shake their hand and many people ask when they will hear from them which is fine to ask.

If you have a job interview coming up and you would like any further help or maybe just a friendly calming person to talk to please feel free to get in touch 🙂

Remember….Be confident, be yourself, sell yourself, plan prep and succeed.

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