It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous when attending an interview. You can be proactive in alleviating much of this pressure by preparing thoroughly.
Cramming information whilst travelling to an interview or whilst sat in reception waiting for the interview to start is only going to hamper your performance. If you follow our structured advice below, you will be much better prepared to answer difficult questions, allowing your personality to shine through.
Before the interview
Research the organisation and take note of recent news articles. You’re likely to be asked what you know about the company or why you want to work for that organisation. Being prepared with an answer that references up to date information shows a real desire and interest
Use LinkedIn to take a look at who you are meeting. This is common practice now, so don’t worry about showing up as having viewed their profile, it’s expected and shows initiative
Take time to fully understand the job description. Make sure you have a list of questions regarding specific responsibilities. Asking searching questions about the role during the interview can demonstrate your enthusiasm and also allows you to determine if it’s suitable for you
Know your personal/professional strengths and weaknesses. These are standard questions and you need to be concise and considered in your response
You will most likely be asked why you are leaving your current role. Think carefully about this and be constructive in your response; it is important not to criticise your previous employers.
During the interview:
Dress smartly, and make sure you are well groomed. Appearance is extremely important when making first impressions
Try to arrive around 15 minutes early
Smile and make eye contact when introducing yourself and be friendly to everyone you meet
Be attentive and contribute to the conversation
Make sure you are answering the question you were asked. Getting side tracked demonstrates a lack of focus. If relevant, use examples from you experiences to support your answers
From the minute you walk in, to the moment you say goodbye, your body language will be under observation. Make sure you avoid crossing your arms or taking on a defensive posture
Maintain regular eye contact with the person that asks the question, if it’s a panel interview make sure you address each person
Be clear, confident and concise in your answers. Get to the point quickly and avoid talking about skills and experiences that aren’t relevant
If you are offered a drink, accept it. You may not want it at the time but you’ll be surprised at how quickly you get thirsty when answering questions. A glass of water can also act as a useful stalling tool when you need a moment to think
Asking questions about the role, the team, the company culture and future opportunities demonstrates that you are genuinely interested
Most importantly, be yourself.
After the interview:
Remember to have an effective ‘close’. Gain commitment from the prospective employer on the next steps and don’t be afraid to ask if they have any concerns or reservations about progressing your application.
If you still have unanswered questions or if the interviewer ran out of time, a concise email (sent via the recruitment consultant) detailing relevant questions can often convey a real interest in the role and team.
Conversations regarding financial and benefits packages can often be more diplomatically managed by your recruitment consultant as they can remain objective in any negotiation.