Thursday, 18 May 2017

Interview Tips

For this post I thought I'd go back to a little post I wrote a few weeks about taking the next step after university/college and looking for a job. So what's the next step once you've applied for the job?

The interview right? And so here are a few tips and pointers to help you out. 

FYI, I'm not claiming to be an interview genius but from having been on an accountable number of interviews, since I became of legal age to work, I thought I'd just share some to help anyone in that position...

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare...

I know it might sound like a stupid tip but you'd be surprised how many people probably turn up to interviews without preparing. And I mean prepare properly. Not just an hour the night before but for a couple of days before the interview day. 

Here are some of my tips for pre-interview prep broken down for you:
  • Know the key points of the job spec - Knowing the key points and responsibilities and duties of the role you're applying for you, will help you anticipate the kind of questions you'll get asked. It will also show the interviewer you know what your key responsibilities will be within the role. 
  • Annotate the job spec - I usually tend to right all over the job spec for the role I'm interviewing for. It helps me pick out the key responsibilities and tasks and match it to my skills and examples. This is especially useful if the specification has a personal qualities section. You can note down any examples and match it with your personal qualities. 
  • Know your own CV - Maybe not something you'd actually think to do but make sure you know your CV and what you've written on it. You may have some experience from a couple years ago and using your CV to refresh yourself on the tasks you carried out and skills gained from the role, is never a hindrance. 
  • Research the company & interviewer(s) - You might think this a silly tip to add, but it's always worth adding in case anyone forgets to actually do this. You may not get asked about the company and team, but it's worth knowing to show you have taken the time to look it up. And if you don't directly get asked, you can always slyly drop it in. The interviewer will more than likely be impressed.
  • Research and plan your journey to the interview - I'm always a get to my interview destination with time to spare, even if it's super early, you can just sit in your car or coffee shop. Of course, if anything does go wrong, contact the interview ASAP and explain the situation with the biggest apology. You can still never trust traffic (accidents) or public transport and weather. 

During the interview...

How you act during the interview, is of course just as if not more important, than the prep you've done beforehand. So here are my tips to help you during the interview.

  • Stay calm  - I definitely struggled with this when I first started especially if I was really interested in the job. But keep yourself calm by doing your prep and even practising interview questions can help. 
  • Smile - Fairly simple but when I've been to interviews everyone has always complimented me on smiling. It makes you look more comfortable I guess.
  • Be yourself and bring your personality - No-one wants to sit opposite a boring interviewer and they don't want to sit in front of and hire a boring candidate. So  be yourself and bring your personality.
  • Take your time - Take your time answering questions. One piece of feedback I got was that I often rambled, when I could in fact take a few minutes to think about answers to questions. Obviously, not an inappropriate amount of time but you are allowed to say, 'could I just have a few minutes before I answer please?'
  • Examples, examples, examples - Examples will be your best friend during interviews. I've always been told to back up skills with examples because it shows your skill in practice. Also, take in physical examples of your work.
  • Questions, questions, questions - Obvious you'd think? But the number of recruiters I've spoken to that have said to me people have gone into interviews without questions prepped for the end, has been a few. Questions will show your interest in the role and company and want to find out more, so have some. If you need some ideas try: What would day-to-day tasks be within this role or  What made you take your role or What is progression like within this role etc...
  • Thank the interviewer - Again, perhaps an obvious one but can be overlooked - thank the interviewer for the opportunity and let them know in subtle way that you are really interested in the role. Sometimes passion is just as important as knowing your stuff.

Whether you get the job or not, feedback will be important. That is one major benefit of going through a recruiter, they'll push for feedback to help you! I mentioned this in my last tips post but I would recommend signing up to a few agencies.

When it comes to interviews, don't panic yourself out by overthinking it. Just do your prep and take your time during the interview. Trust me, it may feel like you're going on endless interviews and not getting anywhere because I've been there (let's save that for another post) but with each interview you are learning more and more.

I hope these have helped, again, I'm no genius but just sharing from personal experience. 

Good luck with interviews! 


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