Interviews can sometimes be nerve-wracking experiences. Most people are not used to talking about themselves that much. Our top tips might help ease the stress of it all:
1. Research and prepare
Make sure you've done your homework by reading through the organisation’s website and seeking out their annual report, where available. Familiarise yourself with their competitive landscape and begin to build up a sense of how they're viewed, their strengths, and their weaknesses . Finally re-read the further particulars for the role to remind yourself what they're looking for. If you are interviewing via Skype or Facetime, then we also suggest watching this short video.
2. Dress smartly
First impressions count for a lot and it's important to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Wear a smart but comfortable outfit.
3. Be punctual
Aim to arrive between five and ten minutes before your allotted time slot. Plan your route to the interview the night before in order to avoid delays. However, if you find yourself running late on the day then simply phone ahead to apologise. Try to avoid having a late night the day before the interview. On your way to it, consider listening to some music in order to increase your alertness.
4. Bring a notebook and a pen
It's highly possibly that you will learn a few facts about the role or the organisation in the interview that you did not know before. For that reason it's helpful to be able to note things down.
5. Get comfortable and be yourself
It's easy to sense when someone is playing a part in an interview. The safest and most reliable course of action is just to be natural. Try to relax and imagine that you're having a conversation with an old friend. If you sit up straight and remember to smile, then you're more likely to communicate enthusiasm and openness. Above all, make sure you're comfortable. If it is too hot, then ask if you can remove your jacket. If there's water on the table, then feel free to help yourself. If the sun is in your eyes, then say so. If your chair is wobbly, then move to another.
6. Hone a fluent career narrative
Many interviewers will want you to spend a little time talking them through your career. You need to be able to convey this story in a succinct and lucid fashion, giving a clear account of why you've chosen the roles you have, what motivated particular changes along the way, and what you've learned and picked up as a result.
7. Tackle your weaknesses head on
No candidate is perfect and you're bound to have some gaps against what the client is looking for. The best course of action is to pre-empt the client’s concerns by showing self-awareness of these perceived weaknesses and either (a) demonstrating that they're not the case ,or (b) explaining what you would do to counteract and resolve them.
8. Be prepared to answer/ask common questions
You might not be asked any of them, but there are some interview questions that are so common that it makes sense to have thought about them and prepared an answer to them in advance. Make sure that you have some substance and examples at your fingertips. Why do you want the job? What are your strengths? What's your proudest achievement? What was the hardest challenge you have ever had to face? How would you characterise your management style? What motivates you and gives you fulfilment? Similarly, make sure you have a few questions of your own up your sleeve in case they give you an opportunity to ask them at the end.
9. Be clear of obstacles and interest
Ensure that there's an understanding of any logistical issues that might affect your ability to accept the role if offered it. They should be aware of your salary expectations (although similarly you should listen to their guidance and be realistic), your notice period, and whether relocation will be an obstacle. Also make sure that you've clarified your availability for any additional interview dates.
10. Clarify the process
Before you leave, ensure that you have an understanding of what the next steps are, and when you're likely to receive feedback.