Interview Success!

You’ve got interview! Now what? Interviews can take many kinds of format and employers may ask a variety of question and can be a stressful in the build up to the date. It is also important that you present the best version of yourself, be preparing yourself you will help to eliminate the stress and present yourself in a calm and confident manner. We have provided a step by step guide and example questions to help to feel prepared and able show off the best you!

Research the company

It’s critical that you do research into the company who have asked you to interview as it is almost guaranteed that they will ask a question such as “What do you know about the work we do here? “. Ultimately you are there to secure a position within their company and will be interviewed by somebody who has a strong connection and influence within the business.  Not only will research help you to prepare a strong answer, but it will allow you to ask questions about the company and show that your interest is legitimate. 

  • How long has the company been trading?
  • Where did the company begin? Is it or was it a family run business?
  • Do they have a mission statement?
  • Company ethos and are they involved in any community projects or charity?
  • What are their future plans?
  • Who are their competitors and how does this company differ?

Plan your Journey 

Never arrive late for an interview! Check out your journey and how you are going to travel. Google Maps is a brilliant place to check as this offers you routes on foot, public transport or by car, once you have entered in location and time you wish to arrive it advises the time of travel, which public transport to take and how long it will take you to arrive. Remember to also take a look at any road maintenance that may be undergoing or upcoming on your route as this will also cause delays!

It is a good idea to do a trial run, at the same time of day as your interview to see how long it will actually take you. On the day, add half an hour to your journey, this allows you some extra time for any unforeseen circumstances and if you’re early allows you to freshen up, grab a coffee and re-read preparation questions and research.

Dress to Impress! 

There are many things to do before an interview but it is important the you don’t neglect your outfit - interviews are all about impressions. Follow these tips so that you make sure you make the right impact that last after you interview is over!

If you’re interview for a role that isn’t based in an office-environment or that requires you to wear a uniform, by following these tips you will still make the best impression by wearing something professional and formal. By dressing in this way, not only are you showing that you are taking your interview seriously, but it also demonstrates that you can be professional and would be a good representation of their company.

Give yourself enough time to prepare your personal hygiene. Make sure your breath is fresh and even your nails are tidy. Your hair also needs to be just as in order as your body and outfit; if you have a beard, shave it or tidy it up and don’t over-use perfume or aftershave.

You might know how to put together a killer outfit already, but dressing for an interview is something you should pay extra care and attention to. From hair to hem, let your outfit and style show how professional you.

Men

You don’t have to wear a three-piece suit to make a good impression, wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a neutral coloured tie and dark trousers will still present a smart, work-ready appearance.

Keep your clothes nicely ironed and try to match your belt to the colour of your shoes for a put together look.

As you want to present yourself as a professional you will want to avoid the following:

  • No jeans or t-shirts
  • No dirty clothes
  • No hats/caps
  • No trainers
  • Remove any excessive jewellery. Keep it simple with a watch, and minimal rings/bracelets.

Women

Keep it simple, stylish and professional with a business suit or a blouse with a skirt or smart trousers. Opt for a skirt that sits no higher than the top of your knee and stick to subtle patterns and colours so as not to be distracting, let your outfit do its own talking, avoid excessive cleavage and wear minimal accessories.

Wearing makeup is completely personal choice and choosing not to makes no difference to the way you come across as a professional. However if you do chose to wear makeup remember to keep it light. A nude makeup look will work best – no need for heavy contours, large wings or over-lined lips!

Wear your shoes with a sensible heel, if you decide to have one at all. Flats work just as well. Shoes should be dark and not too colourful or printed.

We’ve already given you a few pointers, but make sure you avoid the following:

  • No strappy/ low cut tops
  • No open-toed shoes/ sandals
  • No untucked business shirts

Questions to expect

Practice makes perfect! It is key that you prepare answers for likely questions and difference examples that show your previous experience that will relate to this role. If a presentation is required within a set time-limit, make sure you practiced to ensure that you have enough time to calmly and clearly present within the given time. 

  • Tell me about yourself
  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What is your greatest strength?
  • Give me an example of a time when you have had to cope with a difficult situation
  • What has been your greatest achievement?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

For more examples and specific interview scenarios such as competency based interviews and temporary contract interviews please see our document library

We can’t give you specific answers to these questions as everyone’s experiences are different, but when you are preparing remember to be confident about yourself and think about the key skills that are required for the role.

 

Ask a question

Almost as every interview comes to an end your final question will be “Do you have any questions?”. If you want to ensure your interest in the position come across then the answer should be yes. Having some questions to ask makes you look enthusiastic, engaged and interested, not having a question will give the impress that you were not prepared and have a lack of interest in the position and the company.  Some examples to ask are:

  • What are the biggest challenges the team are currently facing?
  • What are the next steps in the interview process?
  • Can you tell me more about the day to day duties of the role?

Don’t ask questions surrounding holiday, pay or breaks as these types of questions do not confirm your interest in hearing further about the position.

Do

  • Bring a notepad, pen, your CV and a copy of the job specification/ advert
  • Shake hands firmly and make eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Maintain good body language and posture. Sit up straight and keep your hands out of your pockets.
  • Arrive early! If for any unforeseen circumstances you are running late, make sure you phone ahead before the time that the interview is due to begin.
  • Turn your phone off / onto silent and put any headphones into your bag before you enter the building and do not retrieve until you have left.

Don't

  • Don’t smoke before your interview – avoid anything that leaves a smell before you meet your interviewer including certain food.
  • Don’t lie or tell jokes
  • Don’t answer questions with a yes or no, explain your answer and give further details or examples
  • Don’t discuss irrelevant or private matters
  • Don’t ever talk negatively about previous employers or colleagues
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