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Read Our Top Interview Tips

Read Our Top Interview Tips

Interview preparation

Here are some basic practical tips to follow on the day of your interview. Planning in advance helps to avoid problems.

Getting ready

Make sure that you know the date and time of your interview. If it is a video interview then make sure that you have the video call details and a working internet connection. If attending an interview, make sure that you know how to get to the venue and have directions. Always leave earlier than you need to, so that you’re not in a rush. Aim to arrive 15 minutes before your timeslot.

Showing your certificates

Have your qualification certificates with you and details of any other achievements outside of formal education, you think are relevant and the employer might want to see.

Enhancing the interview experience

There are lots of ways to enhance the interview experience. Nerves can be a real hurdle. If you’re the sort of person that gets worried about interviews, or if your mind goes blank when asked even the most rehearsed of questions, then these tips might help to settle the nerves and help you focus if you’re feeling under pressure:

  • Think positive

Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Think ‘I could get the job’ rather than ‘I might get the job’.

  • Rationalise your fears

Think of it as a meeting rather than an interview. This is as much about you finding out if you are a fit for the organisation as it is about the interviewer finding out about you. Remember you wouldn’t be called for an interview if they didn’t think you were capable of doing the job.

  • Make a good first impression
    • The interview starts as soon as the video call begins or the minute you enter the venue. Remember to be professional at all times.
    • Studies have shown that 65% of the conveyed message is non-verbal: gestures, tone of voice, and attire are highly influential during job interviews. Take a deep breath, relax, maintain regular eye contact and smile.
    • If you are being interviewed by a panel then try to give everyone equal attention.
    • Speak clearly and at a good pace.
    • Remember your body language is going to say a lot about you, so try to keep good eye contact, sit up straight and don’t cross your arms.
  • Pause for thought

When answering a question, take time to think before you give your example. Don’t just rush in with one of your prepared examples if it doesn’t answer the question directly. A good way of giving yourself a little bit more time before answering is to take a slow sip of water.

  • Ask if you’re unsure

Be willing to ask the interviewer to clarify their question if you don’t understand. If they ask you a vague or ambiguous question, rather than asking them “what do you mean?” you could say “do you mean such-and-such?” Show that you have at least tried to interpret what they’ve said. Alternatively, you can also ask them to repeat the question.

  • Be specific

General or hypothetical answers about your behaviour are not what the interview is looking for. For example, saying “I am a great team player” does not actually demonstrate to the interviewer that you are effective at working with others. Instead, you must describe in detail a particular event, project or experience and how you dealt with the situation and the resulting outcome.

  • Talk about your actions

Don’t talk about what others did or would do. Do talk about what you, individually, actually did. You can talk about other in the context of your role on a team, if applicable, but focus on your contribution(s).

  • Keep calm

Don’t panic if you feel one question goes badly or your answer seemed weak. You are being assessed against a number of criteria, so if one question doesn’t seem to go well forget about it and try to move on and make the rest of your answers count.

 

At the end of the interview

Interviews are a two-way process, they give the interviewee an ideal opportunity to find our more information about the role, team and organisation.

Towards the end of the interview, you’ll usually be prompted to ask any questions you might have. Asking relevant questions demonstrates that you have thought about whether this role is right for you and it also shows an increased level of interest. It pays to tailor your questions depending on what you would like to know more about. Don’t ask a question if is has no purpose. Examples of some good questions are below:

  • What are the top three priorities for the role?
  • How will my performance be measured?
  • How does this role fit into what the team or service needs to achieve?
  • What is it like to work in this team?
  • How would you describe the organisation’s culture?
  • What are some of the main challenges for the team?
  • Which people or teams will i need to build working relationships with?

After the interview

Try to remain positive. Interviews are a skill we all have to learn, and it can take many attempts before being successful. Post-interview feedback can be an effective learning curve for those who request this advice. As long as feedback is given in a non-judgemental and appropriate way, it can provide valuable tips for your professional development.

If you do receive constructive criticism, try not to feel defensive or start arguing your case for the job. The decision has been made and cannot be changed at this stage. Instead, see this as your opportunity to learn from the experience and develop for the future. Make notes on the points that are raised about your performance so that you can refer back to them at a later date and work to improve areas of your approach.