Going for a interview
Interviewers will know something about you already from your CV. This is now your chance to expand on your skills & qualities and really "Sell" yourself.
Remember though - interviews are a two way street! This is also your chance to meet people from the organisation and assess them. Is the company and role you applied for exactly what you thought it was?
Interviews can be a daunting experience but with good preparation you should arrive on the day cool, calm and collected. The best way to prepare is to draw up a checklist of what you need to do before the big day.
There are normally no right or wrong answers in an interview - its how you come across and respond to questions that will impress most.
Be positive, Be honest, Be yourself and most of all Be ready...
- Your invitation will detail the date and time of your interview - ensure you contact the company to confirm your attendance and that all the details are correct
- During this confirmation call make sure you clarify as much as you can about the day
- Where will you be interviewed and by who?
- Is there a panel or individual interviewer
- Are there any tests or activities to prepare for
- Research the company too and the sector it operates in - Showing enthusiasm for the company's business is essential to succeed
- Remind yourself why you applied for the role - re-read your application letter as if you were the interviewer and think of the questions he/she may ask you and think about your responses
- Prepare some questions about the company and job you have applied for
- Plan how you will get to the interview on the day - Plan your route if driving or check the bus and train timetables. Ensure you leave yourself plenty of time too in case of delays
- Plan what you are going to wear on the day and try your outfit out a few days before - you don't want to be rushing around on the day because something is missing. Be clean, smart and comfortable!
- Remember to take a note pad and pen so you can note down any important details offered about the role
- Prepare any evidence, certificates or records you wish to take with you to support the CV you submitted
Arriving at the Interview...
First impressions count! They set the tone for the rest of the interview and make an impact on everyone you meet. Research shows that snap decisions are made in the first few minutes of meeting someone - ensure decisions made about you are positive:
- Arrive 10 - 15 minutes early - This gives you an opportunity to settle, nip to the loo and take a drink to refresh.
- Use this waiting time to also browse any "In-Company" magazines or newsletters to find out up to date information about the employer
- Be polite to everyone you meet - The carpark attendant, the receptionist, security and your contact
- Shake hands firmly and warmly with the interviewer - 25% of interviewers are put off by a weak handshake
- Wait to be offered a seat then try to relax - Don't perch on the edge of your chair but don't slouch back either
The Interview Itself...
A good interviewer will try to put you at ease by asking some "Ice Breaker" questions. These will normally be easy questions about yourself, how you got there today and where you have come from. These are designed to help you relax.
You should know in advance if the interview is one-to-one or with a panel. If you are being interviewed by a panel the interviewer will introduce everyone involved - remember to smile and make eye contact with everyone as you talk to them.
If you are attending a larger recruitment day you may be asked to work in a group with other candidates - this type of activity is designed to see how you work in a team or lead a group. Be positive and get involved!
You could also be asked to take some form of test or assessment - Personality, aptitude or IT / Software application tests. These are designed to assess your abilities on particular activities involved with the job you are applying for.