It’s here. The big day. You’ve got a job interview…congratulations! You should be feeling really good about yourself right now. All of that hard work preparing your CV and writing an epic cover letter has paid off! There’s just one more hurdle to overcome and the job will be yours! So let’s take a look at how to be successful in a job interview and what tips and tricks you can use to make sure you nail your next one.
Read back through your cover letter and CV
The person interviewing you will use both your CV and cover letter as a point of reference during the interview. Be prepared to talk about anything that you have included, even the hobbies that you mentioned in the “Other Interests” section. Also, as a bonus, always think about how you can bring the skills gained from all of your experiences and hobbies back to being useful and relevant to the job that you’re interviewing for.
Prepare your answers
Many interviews use what is called a “competency based” format which means that the person interviewing you will ask you to give examples of when you have shown specific skills. They might also ask you to describe a situation when you have had to take on a certain responsibility or behaved in a particular way.
For example, “Can you describe a situation when you led a team?” or “Can you describe a situation when you have had to solve a problem under pressure?”.
You can try and predict the questions that you might be asked by reading through the job description and identifying the skills that they are looking for. Be sure to think of examples of when you have shown all of the skills mentioned in the job description.
Prepare a couple of your own questions
You will almost always be asked towards the end of the interview whether you have any questions for the interviewer. When they ask you this, they don’t mean, “Ask me what my favourite colour is,” they mean, “Do you have any questions about the job role or the company?”. This is a great opportunity to show that you have done your research about the company and to ask a question that demonstrates your interest.
For example, if you read on the company website that they have a volunteering programme, you could ask how employees can get involved. Or, if they have shared a climate change policy, you could ask them what that looks like in practice in the business. Also, if they mentioned training and they haven’t covered that in the interview already, ask what the training programme includes. This shows that you are motivated to learn and improve your skills.
If it was hard to find much information about the business, you could always ask about what the other employees are like, whether there are staff social events, what progression opportunities there are etc.
Just make sure that you have at least one question prepared.
Get organised! Decide what you are going to wear to your interview the night before and lie it out so that it doesn’t get creased. Look up the address of where you are having your interview and find out how you are going to get there and how long it is going to take. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your interview and allow for traffic delays, not finding a parking space etc. Get a good night’s sleep.
By doing all of this you are giving yourself the best chance of being successful in a job interview.
Dress for success
Obviously, different industries have different dress codes, but wherever you are applying it is best to dress smartly for an interview. Dressing smartly doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a suit, but a good rule of thumb is to dress “one style up” from what would normally be worn in the workplace.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in an office, definitely wear a suit. If you’re applying for a job in a more relaxed work environment, avoid jeans and trainers, and opt for more casual office wear.
Being well-dressed and well-groomed shows the employer that you take them, their business and the job that you are applying for seriously.
Let your body language speak for itself
A smile at the beginning and end of an interview is a great way of making a good and final impression. Plus, smiling in a genuine way when talking enthusiastically about the job role and why you are interested in the job, shows an employer that you are confident, easy going and positive. However, don’t plaster a fake smile on for the whole interview as it can come across as insincere and desperate.
Instead, make sure that you sit up straight, speak clearly and keep good eye contact.
The best way to be confident is to be prepared. No amount of fake smiling will hide the fact that you haven’t done your research about the company or practised for the interview!
Did you know that there are many exciting job roles currently available as part of the government’s Kickstart scheme? Applicants for these jobs MUST be 16 – 24 and currently on Universal Credit. The scheme is designed to help young people get into work and employers across a wide variety of industries have created new job roles specifically for Kickstarters. Find out more about the Kickstart Scheme and learn if you are eligible for Universal Credit.