Your application has been accepted and now you have a job interview. This is the last step before recruitment. Preparation is the key to success in a job interview, and will help you to win over the interviewer. Whether perfecting your presentation or getting up to speed with the company in question, putting in the work before the big day will ensure that you breeze through this stage of the recruitment process.
Here are a few tips to help you answer the much-vaunted question of how to do well in your job interview.
Preparation is key when it comes to interviews. There are certain things that you’ll need to work on before the big day. Remember that recruiters can always tell the difference between good preparation and improvisation!
When you are preparing for your interview, it’s really important to research the company, the role you’re applying for and any criteria that you’ll need to meet. Make sure that you don’t confuse one job offer with another – it’s easily done when you’re a temporary worker and sending in multiple applications! Have all of your application information to hand. That way, you’ll have all the details that you need as well as making the most of your prep time.
You should find out about the recruiting company. Finding information on company websites or via social media is usually quite straightforward. It may also be a good idea to ask around and see if anyone you know has worked for your target company. If they have, you could have a chat with them to find out what it’s like. It will look good in the interview if you know about the company’s products, services and latest news. You may also wish to find out names of managers and any team members that you’d be working with. Try going on LinkedIn and see if the company and its staff are listed - it can be a goldmine of information! The recruiter will be impressed with your interest and motivation if you are knowledgeable about the company. Knowing about your potential workplace will also give you greater confidence, and the ability to be proactive when answering interview questions. Often, one impressive or unexpected piece of information will be enough to bag the job.
When you’re a temporary worker, you may have an interview with your recruitment agency before you meet the recruiter. Although this interview is usually informal, don’t underestimate it. You should take it as seriously as any other interview, because it’s the agency that will put you in touch with job offers and professional opportunities. Your recruitment consultant will use the interview to gain a first impression of you, and use this as a basis when deciding which recruiters to contact on your behalf. If they are impressed, they may prioritise you for interviews or even recommend your direct recruitment without an interview. It’s also really important to be professional in all of your assignments, as this will give you a greater chance of landing better future roles.
You need to know your CV and your covering letter inside out. The recruiter will have read them, and is highly likely to ask you a question about what you’ve written. They might want to know about your skills, experience or even one of the hobbies you have mentioned. They’ll want to dig deeper into what you’ve written in your CV and covering letter, so make sure that you’re clear about your training and experience, and can link them to the role you've applied for.
Don't try to present yourself as flawless. Every candidate has weak points, and recruiters are well aware of this. Instead, identify your weaknesses and how you can build on them. Don’t see your weaknesses as obstacles. They can usually be offset by your professional and personal achievements. When you’re talking, focus on how your career path has led you to apply for this role, and don’t be scared to address your faults or skills gaps. Remember that there is no such thing as a candidate with all of the right qualities and experience.
Don't forget to work on your oral presentation in advance to have the greatest impact during the interview. A concise, well-articulated and flowing presentation will make you stand out from the crowd. Learn how to select relevant aspects of your profile to mention to the recruiter, depending on the role in question. Almost all job interviews will include a presentation, so learn how to present yourself clearly and concisely. Expect to answer questions about your training, experience and any other information that you’ve mentioned on your CV. Practice will help you to choose your words more easily and be more at ease when talking. This will make you sound more eloquent and help the interviewer to understand you better.
By now, you'll be aware that preparation is key to an effective job interview. However, that doesn’t mean that you should learn everything by heart and repeat it verbatim to the recruiter. Instead, find a happy medium between being well-prepared and being yourself.
On the big day, there are still things that you can do to ensure that your interview is a success. Although preparation is key, there are also golden rules that you’ll need to follow during the interview. As soon as you arrive in the building, you will be making a first impression on your potential future employer.
Your interviewer’s first impression of you will be based on your punctuality and choice of outfit. Make sure that you arrive earlier than the allocated time, especially on large premises where you may get lost easily. What you wear for the interview may differ depending on the company, the business sector and the role for which you have applied. It’s important to tailor your clothing to the professional environment in question. While in some situations casual yet suitable clothing would be the best choice, a suit and tie (or smart office wear for women) may be required for others. This will allow the interviewer to visualise you in the role, so that you’re not labelled as a visitor.
Be aware of your posture throughout the interview. This is something that reflects your personality, commitment and motivation. A good posture will make you seem open and easy to talk to. Try to avoid crossing your arms, slouching in your chair or looking bored, Make sure you smile and make eye contact the interviewer, without overdoing it of course!
Use short sentences which get straight to the point. If you suffer from verbal tics, use your preparation time to learn how to avoid them. Ask a friend or family member to help you practice. You should also ask the recruiter questions to demonstrate your interest in the company. You could build on a question that the interviewer has asked you, or focus on a point which has come up in your research.
At the end of the interview, you may wish to ask about the next steps, perhaps in relation to follow-up interviews or when a decision will be made. This initiative alone will demonstrate you are both motivated and committed to joining the company. Don’t forget to thank your interviewers before you leave, and to greet anyone that you pass on your way out. Ensure that you are polite and respectful to all staff members that you meet, both on arrival and departure. Remember that key decisions may be influenced by more than one person!
When you’re looking for a job, the interview is the final stage in the recruitment process, and is likely to be an experience that you’ll repeat several times throughout your career. Advance preparation is essential, and will add to your credibility with the interviewer when the big day arrives. You’ll also need to follow some key ground rules. This advice will help you to fine tune your interview approach, which is the first step towards interview success and landing the job of your dreams!
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