Congratulations! You have manged to secure an interview.
You are making progress, your CV has worked by securing the interview but what should you do now, you have to meet your potential employer, how should you conduct yourself, what should you say, when should you say, what should you ask?
The questions keep coming, so here are some hints and tips to help steady your nerves and hopefully put you forward as the person for the job.
Interviews – do’s and don’ts
An interview is a discussion between you and an employer to find out if you can do the job. It’s your chance to make a good impression. However, there are certain rules you should follow in interviews.
What to do:
- dress smartly, look bright and attentive, and speak clearly and confidently. First impressions really do count – studies show that employers make a decision about whether to hire you within the first seven minutes on average
- find out where the venue is beforehand, how to get there and how long it takes
- get your outfit ready the night before
- find out what kind of interview it will be so you can prepare
- examine the person specification and your CV/application form, and think about what type of questions they will ask you
- prepare answers for the main questions – for example, why do you want the job, what are your strengths and weaknesses, what are the main tasks in this job?
- make about three or four points in each answer
- quote real examples of when you’ve used certain skills – just saying you’ve got a skill isn’t enough
- take your time when answering the questions: make sure you understand the question and take your time if you need to think
- sell yourself: no one else is going to! 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. (Don’t ask about money or perks just yet!)
- when discussing salary, know your market worth and start by quoting a little higher than this
- get feedback on your performance, whether you were successful or not
- turn off your mobile phone: treat the interviewers with respect and give them your undivided attention
- keep your answers focused on what you can do for the employer, not what they can do for you
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 smoke
- don’t lie: the interviewer may see through you. 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 try to remember that it’s not a life and death situation – there are plenty of jobs out there!
- 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 relations
- don’t read from notes or your CV — you should be familiar enough with your own history to be able to talk about it unprompted