You’ve impressed them with your CV and covering letter, and now you’ve got that all-important interview. But don’t rest on your laurels, read this section for some handy tips on how to prepare for your interview.
Do your homework
Before the big day, visit the organisation’s website, as most have information on careers. Read up on the skills they’re looking for and whether you meet those requirements. Then think about any examples you can talk about that demonstrate those skills. Interviewers are likely to ask you for examples of times you’ve demonstrated a particular skill or behaviour. That’s because they know previous behaviour can help predict your future performance. If the website doesn’t have a lot of information, look at the job specification or advertisement, and note the key skills they want. Once again, think about how you can demonstrate these.
Plan your travel and expect the unexpected
Little is worse than getting lost or missing trains before an interview. Of course, things can happen that are out of your control and it’s important to inform your interviewer if you’re going to be late. Leave early for your interview and you’ll feel more prepared and composed on arrival.
Prepare the questions you want to ask
You want to demonstrate that you’ve researched the organisation and you’re interested in them, so prepare a question or two to ask. Perhaps you read something about the organisation that captured your interest. Or you might want to ask the interviewer what they most enjoy about working for the organisation.
It’s natural to feel nervous before an interview. But don’t panic if things don’t go according to plan. If a question throws you off track, ask for a moment to think about it and compose yourself. If you’re really stressed, let your interviewer know; this will help them understand your situation and make you feel at ease. They don’t want to catch you out – they just want to see if you have the right skills and motivations for the role.
Give an accurate picture of yourself in the interview. Friends and family may have advised you about what to say, but it’s best to be yourself. This way, you reveal your personality and make yourself appear much more relaxed.
Watch your body language
If, when under pressure, you tend to play with your hair, fiddle with a pen, bite your nails or anything else, try not to during the interview. Instead, look your interviewer in the eye, sit up straight and never slouch.
First impressions last
First impressions count, so make sure you’re wearing something appropriate for the interview that’s not too uncomfortable. Your handshake is important, so look the interviewer in the eye, and shake firmly – although not with too much force!
Listen and answer the questions
You may have prepared answers for some questions. However, don’t answer a question with a response that doesn’t relate to it. Listen carefully to the interviewer and make sure you answer appropriately. Don’t be afraid to ask the interviewer to elaborate or repeat themselves.
Change your examples
If an interviewer wants you to demonstrate your communication skills, team-working talents and business ability, don’t use the same example for every question. Try to think of various ways to demonstrate your skills, perhaps by talking about things you do outside work or university.
Smile, nod and show you’re interested in what your interviewer is saying. If you look bored or don’t maintain eye contact, your interviewer may think you’re not interested in the job.
Thank you to the CIPD website for this relevant and useful advice.www.cipd