How many of you can relate to the following scenario? A private number flashes up on your phone screen or an unfamiliar email address pings into your inbox. You stare hard at your device.
No, we are not describing the frustrations of dealing with PPI or road accident cold callers! It’s the ‘work seekers anticipation syndrome’ as you’re about to get the answer to that dream job you applied for. The next few moments are critical – this could be good or bad news.
‘’We are pleased to advise you that your application for ‘insert dream job here’’ has successfully progressed to the next stage in our recruitment process. We would like to invite you to attend an interview with us.’’
Phew!! Interview, interview, interview, Yaasss!! Clearly you followed our 10 Top Tips To Boost Your CV and your application form did the trick. Of course you heard back, after all, you have tonnes of experience and you are a true professional. But interview? Now you actually have to prove to the company you are the perfect candidate face to face, and you have not had an interview in years. If Interviews are not your strong point, follow our advice on how to give the best interview of your life…
Preparing for interview
Consider frequently asked questions
Potentially you could be asked virtually anything under the sun, but at least you can be prepared to answer the most common ones such as your thoughts on teamwork and communication, and why you chose your degree.
Prepare some competency based answers as well. They will usually start with ‘Describe a situation when you … solved a problem?’. Make sure your answer involves explaining the situation, task and the action you took to reach the final result, in order to fully address the question. Whereas; ‘Tell me about yourself?’ is a great opportunity to describe your work history, interest in the field, your education,. They do not want to know about the kind of 10-year old you once were!
This is a great way for the interviewer to assess your personality and for you to highlight how much you will fit in, and add value to the team. You can list three or four of your strengths and when choosing them, consider how closely these strengths match the requirements of the job role. Being dependable, good initiative, and organised for example, are all things that will be welcomed attributes to the organisation.
Research the company and the role
Idealist Careers recommends researching the company and seeing if it is a good fit for you. “Doing research on the organization you are about to interview with, will allow you to assess whether the organization is right for you, ask better questions during the interview, and help you craft better answers, as you’ll be able to articulate how you’ll fit into the organization and help it advance its goals.”
First impressions really do matter. Plan how you want to look in advance. The goal is to be formal and professional. Make sure you try on your suit in advance, and take it to the dry cleaners if ironing is not your forte. Too-tight trousers or a gaping shirt will be very distracting for all. Hair should be neat, and consider booking into the hairdressers if you are due, this is your dream job after all. Whilst bold makeup is very current at the moment, try to keep make-up simple at interview stage, and team with minimal jewellery. A lovely perfume will always make a good impression (but don’t go overboard). A good tip is to wear shoes that you feel comfortable walking long distances in.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare for the big day
Practice role play to ease your nerves and try to plan every aspect of the interview. Use online maps (TFL) etc to locate the business and plan the best way to get there, aiming to arrive 20 minutes before the interview.
Have a good, light breakfast, pack your bag in advance to include a folder for documents, such as your CV and qualifications. Also carry mints and water, snacks and a good lip balm.
Display your interpersonal skills in the first three minutes
Smile and be confident when you arrive. According to website: Women for Hire “It’s critical to connect personally, which can be started through chit chat in the first three minutes. Find some kind of common ground – local sports (Wow, how about that game?); a photo (Oh, is that your toddler?); or even art or an award hanging on the office wall (What a beautiful painting!). This initial small talk can break the ice and set the tone for a more comfortable conversion.”