Tips for acing interviews
We all know interviews can be daunting. There is pressure everywhere it seems. You are up against a group of other candidates, you want to impress the employer, you don’t want to come across too strong but also don’t want to seem uninterested, you don’t know if you picked the right outfit, or what if your mind goes blank entirely?! The list goes on.
Because of this we hope this article of 10 interview tips will help any of you that are anticipating either telephone or face-to-face interviews in the near future to realise what will help you succeed and have the best experience you possibly can.
And what’s better, this advice comes directly from our MyKindaFuture Graduate Recruitment Team – so they know what they’re talking about.
1. Be prepared. We know, it sounds like a broken record. But a lot of candidates assume knowing a vague idea about the company they are applying to will make the cut – if you want to stand out you need to make sure you have done your research on their website and in the media, including LinkedIn. If you can get involved in any on-campus events or online chats then do!
2. Know your CV. Have a look over your experiences and achievements so that you can apply these to competency-based questions – when have you demonstrated leadership? What obstacles have you come across in your experience and how did you overcome these? Knowing your answers will make it easier not to be put on the spot.
3. Dress appropriately. If you have a face-to-face interview, you need to ensure you are presentable and professional as well as take care of yourself and your appearance. This includes being showered, clean hair and nails, smelling nice, clean clothes and smart shoes.
4. Body language. Be conscious of how you appear. If you are nervous that is perfectly fine and is to be expected, however make sure you do not appear dishevelled or lazy. Walk, stand and sit in a professional, engaging manner. Don’t lean or stretch out – appear interested in being present in the room.
5. Remain positive. Although the interview is to be taken seriously, keeping a positive manner will help. If you are sitting across from the interviewer make sure you smile, and if your interview is over the telephone make sure your tone of voice is upbeat.
6. Be personable. Yes, interviews are centrally based around the professional experience and skills of the candidate, however a way to stand out and really connect with the interviewer is mentioning (only a couple of times) something about your life outside work and education. What do you do in your spare time? Have you ever done charity work? Is there an interesting fact about you that wouldn’t be obvious at first?
7. Listen to the question. Don’t interrupt the interviewer, or assume you know the direction the question is going in. Pay attention, and you’ll avoid any embarrassment from assumptions or not listening properly.
8. Be ready 10 minutes before your scheduled interview. Whether face-to-face or over the phone, make sure you are ready. Don’t get ready for the time of the interview itself as this will give you no opportunity to use a bathroom, calm your nerves or go over your CV one more time.
9. Take your time. A lot of interviewers like to give candidates a short window to think over their response before they give it – otherwise they end up with ‘word vomit’. So if a question comes your way that you weren’t expecting, don’t panic and think your answer through.
10. Close the interview well. You will always be given the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the interview. After the interview itself, you may feel mentally drained and may not initially have any questions. However, this is your chance to impress one more time! A lot of candidates take this opportunity to ask when they will hear if they are successful, which is a useful question but shouldn’t be the only one asked. Make sure you ask something further about the role, or about the organisation that you would like to know. Here are some examples you could use:
- What are the training and development opportunities within the company?
- What are the positives/benefits of working within the company?
- What are some examples of positions that other graduates/interns have gone into within the organisation once they have finished the programme/role?
Are you looking for graduate or intern opportunity? Check out our jobs board!