You have secured yourself an interview. You can rest assured that your application has met the criteria for the role and the organisation is interested in finding out more about you. Understandably, you may now be asking yourself, what next? Maybe you haven’t had an interview for years; maybe you have suddenly become nervous and want to pull out? Or, maybe you feel calm and collected and know you are going to give it your all. Here is our guide on interview do’s and don’ts. We hope these set you up for a brilliant interview.
Do your research!
It is always handy to have some general information about the company you are applying for. When did they come into operation? What are their values? All these little nuggets of information can help you stand out from the crowd.
Do check the job description!
Read the job description fully and think of your past experiences that could be relevant and useful should you get the job. This is essential to be able to answer questions proficiently and show your dedication towards the company at this early stage.
Do plan your route!
Plan in advance and even practising the route a few days before, that way you have a good idea of how to get there.
Do map out the time you arrive!
Always arrive a little earlier than expected, not only does that show you are punctual, but it also gives you some time to sit down and gather your thoughts and, most importantly, get relaxed.
Do plan what you are taking!
Remember to grab all of your essential documents, it should say on the interview confirmation email what you will need – it could be your passport, proof of a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, your birth certificate etc.This helps speed the process up if they can scan your documents at the interview
Do have time to stay calm!
Don’t be afraid of the people interviewing you, they are human too and know how nervous you are feeling. Try to keep eye contact with the panel, it is a conversation after all; try to look at them, not at the table or corner of the room.
Do take your time in the interview and with the questions!
Do you understand the question? No? That is fine, ask for clarification, and don’t worry about needing something explaining again.
Do use the STAR technique!
Do you struggle to give concise answers to interview questions? STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result, and could help you to keep your answers focused, particularly if you are asked to give scenarios from your work experience and how they may indicate you are right for the role. In these:
- Describe a situation you were in.
- Explain the task you had to complete and what challenges there were.
- Describe the specific action you took to resolve this.
- Close with the result of your effort.
Here’s an Example of a well-structured STAR answer:
Q: When have you worked as part of a team to complete a difficult task?
Situation: In my previous job I volunteered to work with five other members to complete a difficult project that had fallen by the wayside due to a contractor going out of business.
Task: The task required all of us to work closely together to integrate a new software system with the client’s website. We only had four days to complete the task in accordance with the specification and the client’s requirements. Action: We started out by reading the client brief carefully and then I decided to take the lead and allocate specific tasks based on each team member’s capabilities and area of expertise. We then set timescales for each team member to reach, which would ensure the task got completed in time. Throughout the four-day working period, we all supported each other as and when required in order to motivate each other through regular communication.
Result: The end result was the project was completed on time and to a high standard, much to the satisfaction of the client.
Do take your time to reflect!
Remember, the panel are not the only people making a decision, how do you feel? Do you think you will fit with the team? You should be aware of your needs too.
Don’t leave things to the last minute.
Doing this will only leave you flustered and unprepared, instead, give plenty of time to collect information, get your outfit sorted, and be prepared.
Don’t dress too casually
We all have our favourite pair of jeans, but best to leave them in the wardrobe for this one, give off a good first impression.
Don’t talk negatively about other employers!
Don’t say anyting bad about your previous employer; this doesn’t come across in the way it is often meant. Remain positive about past experiences, it will work better in your favour.
Saying you can do something when you actually can’t will only come back to bite you in the long run. Remain truthful and honest, that way you won’t find yourself in any sticky situations should you get the role.
Don’t let your nerves get the better of you!
It will be hard, and everyone knows it, but try to keep the lid on your nerves, drink some water, take deep breaths, remember, it is only a conversation.
Don’t lose your focus and professionalism!
It is easy to be professional in an interview, but the second you are in the carpark is no different, keep professional, and level headed, even if inside you are not, just a few more steps to the car or gate out of the carpark until you can breathe and feel the relief!
Are you feeling better and prepared?
We hope so, interviews are a nerve-racking time and everybody knows that, even the people interviewing you. Follow our tips and tricks and we are sure your interview will go well.
A good way to think about it is you are going to speak about yourself and your experiences, as said earlier, if the panel didn’t think you had potential, you would not be going for an interview.
Actions speak louder than words, 60 per cent of first impressions are based on body language. We are not saying you should practise your handshake and smile in a mirror, but just be yourself, and try to hide those inevitable nerves.
Enjoy your interview, and remember, think positively – Good luck!
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