How to prepare for a job interview
After you have dedicated some time to perfecting your CV and applying to every appropriate job advert you can find, chances are you have a few interviews lined up. If you have never attended a job interview before it can be very difficult to know how you are supposed to act and what you are supposed to talk about. We have collected some tips on how to succeed at interviews even if you are completely new to them.
Do your research
Before you attend any interview, or have a phone interview, you should research the company as thoroughly as possible. Use Google, ask around, anything you can. The more information you have on the prospective employer, the more prepared you will be for any questions they have. It is also a great way of getting a better picture of the context of some questions.
Looking professional at an interview is not as difficult as it sounds – make sure your clothes are whole and clean, not revealing, and appropriate for the company you are interviewing for. If you are going for a construction job a suit and tie might not be appropriate; if you are going for an office job it might be. If you aren’t sure, ask your contact at the company what the dress code is ahead of time.
Be on time
Actually, be a bit early. It looks a lot better if you arrive ten minutes early than if you rush at the last minute (being late is of course unacceptable). Some recruiters also say that if the person waiting is simply sitting or reading a book rather than tapping away on their phone, that can give a positive first impression.
Think before you speak
During the interview, you will most likely experience some bad nerves. Just take deep breaths and, whenever you are asked a question, take a few seconds before responding. Use this time to think about your response and hear it in your head before you speak. This can help you avoid rambling for too long and losing the point of the response.
At the end, odds are the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions. Actually having a good question will look better than just saying, “nope, I think I’m fine.” Here are some questions that work in most situations:
- What is the office culture like here?
- Is there anything about my CV that concerns you?
- When am I likely to hear from you again?
These are some simple guidelines that will guarantee that you have at least done your best at your interviews – which is really all you can do. If you behave correctly in your interview and actually match their idea of who they are looking for, you should be a great contender for the role.
We here at UNFM understand that interviews can be nerve wracking, and the best way to calm these nerves is to practice, practice and yep, you guessed it – practice. Get your friends and family to ask you questions that might come up so that you can prepare answers and get feedback.
Interviewer: “What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses?”
You: “My strengths are that I have enthusiasm, energy and I’m reliable. My weakness is that I don’t have much experience in this area – but I’m willing to learn…”
Practice looking your interviewer in the eye and answering with confidence, the better prepared you are for the tough questions, the less daunting it will be!