We know interviews can be stressful, so here are some tips to help you. Preparation is the key to performing well in interviews, so always research the role and organisation that interests you and prepare examples of your skills and competencies.
What to do:
Dress smartly and look attentive. Speak clearly and confidently. Remember that in the first few minutes, only 7% of the interviewer's opinion of you is formed by what you say, the rest is judged on how you look and sound.
Find out where the venue is, how to get there and how long it takes.
Get your outfit ready the night before. Polish your shoes!
Find out what kind of interview it will be so you can be prepared.
Think about what type of questions the interviewer might ask you.
Prepare your answers as to why do you want the job. For example what are your strengths and weaknesses or what are the main tasks in this job?
Quote real examples of when you've used a certain skill. Just saying you've got a skill isn't enough.
Take your time when answering questions. Make sure you understand the question and think about the right answer.
Be positive about yourself and your experiences.
Prepare some questions to ask at the end of the interview. Use it as an opportunity to find out more about the role and the company, but above all, don't make your first question about money or benefits.
When discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting higher.
Always, get feedback on your performance – whether or not you were successful.
Keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you.
Make sure your mobile phone is off!
What not to do:
Don't be late.
Don't swear or use slang words.
Don't slouch in your seat or do anything that makes you look uninterested.
Don't lie. The interviewer may see through you and even if you get the job, your employer can dismiss you if they find out that you have not been honest.
Don't let your nerves show too much. A few nerves are normal, but extreme nerves will affect your performance. Use breathing techniques and remember that it's not a life and death situation - there are plenty of other jobs.
Don't be arrogant and assume you've got the job. Nothing turns off employers more than someone who is disrespectful and over-confident.
Don't discuss controversial topics such as religion, politics and gender.
Don't read from notes or from your CV. You should know your own history and be able to talk about it unprompted.
Don't criticise former employers or colleagues. Interviewers may mark you down as a trouble maker.
Don't argue with the interviewer, no matter what.
These guidelines apply for most jobs, however some employers can use more relaxed and informal interviewing techniques.
Always remember to be more formal rather than too relaxed and smart casual clothing is always better than casual. If you're in any doubt, do some research first.
Telephone Interview Tips:
Telephone interviews are becoming much more common, as they are used as a 'sifting device' by employers who are overwhelmed with good quality applicants and want to whittle these down to a manageable number. A phone discussion is a quick and cost effective way of sorting out the candidates. Typically lasting about 15 minutes, it's a cut down version of the traditional interview. Expect the same sort of questions that you'd have at any normal interview, mostly based on the job description and the reasons why it
appeals to you.
Here are a few suggestions as to how you can give a good account of yourself on the phone:
Although time is usually limited, resist the temptation to talk too quickly. With no non-verbal cues, it may be hard for the interviewer to follow you. Pausing before you answer a question is fine, if you let the interviewer know this. It's better to say "I'm just thinking about that," rather than leaving a silence whilst you gather your thoughts.
Be succinct. Have anecdotal evidence and your own key selling points at hand. If you want to give more detail to a question, check with the interviewer first by saying something like: "I can go into more depth about that if you wish." The name of the game is to market yourself sufficiently to reach a second interview. Pare down your answers but don't forget essential information.
Don't surround yourself with notes as you won't have time to delve around for these. Instead be armed with a series of bullet pointed note cards, signposting responses to obvious questions and also to key facts you wish to make.
Bizarre as it sounds, some candidates like to look smart even though they can't be seen. Dressing up rather than down may put you in a better frame of mind. For the same reason, you may want to sit behind a desk, rather than slumping on the sofa.
Choose a quiet location where you are unlikely to be interrupted.
Be ready and waiting when the phone rings. Introduce yourself with a good morning / afternoon and thank the interviewer for calling.