I’m 33 and I’ve had more jobs than I care to admit. To be honest it’s a bit of a joke within my family and friends. I don’t regret any of them – after all I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for every single one of them. For every job I’ve had, I’ve probably had at least 4 or 5 interviews that I’ve not been successful at. You are probably thinking, if I can’t ace every interview that I’ve ever had, what makes me think I’m suitable for writing this post. Well the truth is, I’ve also learnt from every interview I’ve had – successful or not.
Top job interview tips
To a lot of you, most of this post will just be common sense and really obvious. You would however be surprised at how many people are unprepared for interviews.
Dress for the occasion
It doesn’t matter what kind of company the role is for, or how senior the position is, you have to dress the part. Suit and tie for men, smart trousers or skirt with blouse or shirt for women. Even if the company is casual or informal, first impressions really count and rocking up in a grubby polo shirt or trainers is going to give completely the wrong impression!
Research the company and the role
You won’t know every single thing about them. Being able to show that you’ve researched them and are well prepared will make a really good impression though. Can you find out what kind of questions someone going for that kind of position or at that company are likely to get asked?
Be on time
Or better… early! Turning up late for a job interview late is a big fat no-no! Clearly if there is something major and out of the ordinary occurring on that day, call them, let them know and apologise. If however it is normal traffic or transport issues and you’ve just underestimated the time it will take then frankly that shows a lack of preparation and respect to your interviewers. I personally am a big fan for taking the time I think it will take, doubling it, and then going to get a drink nearby and then arriving about 10 minutes early.
Try to relax
In my opinion, if you aren’t nervous before a job interview then you probably don’t want it that much. Being nervous is completely normal. Just take a deep breath and try to relax. Relaxing will help with your body language. It should also help you if you are worried about waffling, stop and take a deep breath. If they need anything further from you, they will ask.
Have you got everything you need?
Ensure you have any documentation and paperwork they have requested. Turning up without your passport, visa or any professional certifications, particularly if they were requested in advance just shows that you are disorganised. It also will make them think you aren’t that serious about the role.
Have some sensible and well thought out questions prepared. If necessary have some notes prepared. When the time comes to ask questions, it is acceptable to refer to them. Asking what your holiday allowance would be or do you get a dress down Friday shows no real commitment to the role or company. My personal preference would be to not discuss salary at a first interview either. That can either come at a second interview or via an agency if a recruitment agent is involved.
If at any point you are not sure what is being asked of you – it is ok to ask for clarification.
Being negative, about yourself, your current role or line manager will reflect poorly on you. They are more likely to want to hear from someone who is enthusiastic and positive. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself. Equally being able to say why you think you would be good for the job is completely different to being cocky and arrogant. Ensure you get a good balance.
These are just as important as the first ones. A polite “Thank you for your time” at the end will go a long way. Perhaps even follow it up with an email.