Job Interview Guide
If you’ve made it to the interview stage for a job application, chances are you have already made a good first impression on the employer.
So, now that you’ve proved on paper that you’ve got the right experience for the job, you need to show the employer that you’re the right fit in person. And this means more than just having the skills they are looking for.
An interview is a way to show off yourself: from your experience and skills, to your confidence, attitude, presentation, all the way down to your punctuality. The key thing to remember when it comes to an interview is that it’s a two-way street: this is your opportunity to make sure the job is the right fit for you as much as it is for the interviewer.
Below, we’ve covered a few key tips to making sure you really get the most out of your job interview and prepare yourself for the best chances of success.
Preparing for Your Interview
Look over the job advert again
A good tip for feeling prepared for your interview is to go back to the original advert for the job you are applying for and familiarize yourself with the language used in the job description. This will help you understand exactly what the employer is looking for.
Pay particular attention to the responsibilities that job role comes with, and to the skills and experience they list as desirable in a candidate. Arming yourself with this knowledge can help you really highlight why you’re a good fit for the role in your interview.
Do your research
Before any interview, you should always do some background research into the company. Have a browse through their website and read their ‘about us’ page, specifically looking into their mission statement and values as a company.
For some companies, having employees who have a genuine interest in their brand is a highly desirable quality to ensure longevity in the job, so make a point of jotting down not only why you want the job you are applying for - but also why you are interested in that company in particular.
Make sure you know exactly what your resume says
Not nearly enough people update their resume regularly. Many people created their resume years ago, and only update it with their most recent work experience before applying for a new job.
If you aren’t 100% sure what exactly your resume says, take a couple of minutes before your interview to read over it and remind yourself. There is nothing more embarrassing than being asked about a detail on your resume that is wrong!
Practice your interviewing skills with friends and family
If you’re feeling a little rusty in your interviewing skills, it can be a good idea to ask a family member or trusted friend to go through some tough interview questions with you for practice and to calm your nerves.
Having a friend who works in recruitment can be a huge advantage here! If not, however, you could just give your friend the job description and ask them to quiz you on a few things likely to come up in your interview (for example, describing your responsibilities in your current job, what made you apply for this role, etc).
Make sure you have some questions you want to ask the company
Being proactive and asking the company more about the role, the brand, or about prospects for the future shows that you have a genuine interest in being a part of the company and take the initiative when it comes to thinking ahead.
Before the interview, plan a couple of questions you would like to ask your interviewer. This could be more in-depth questions about the specifics of the role and what your responsibilities would be, or it could be looking ahead and asking the interviewer what opportunities they foresee for the company and you as an employee in the future.
Be prepared, punctual, and presentable
It’s considered good practice to arrive for your interview about 10 minutes in advance - the last thing you want to do is make your interviewer(s) wait for you and make a bad impression! Arriving slightly early will also give you time to visit the bathroom, have a glass of water, go over your notes, and collect your nerves before you need to go into the interview room.
In terms of dressing for your interview, it really depends on the role you are applying for. A high-paying corporate job may call for a formal suit for your interview, whereas for other companies following a smart-casual dress code is perfectly appropriate. If you’re not sure, remember that it’s better to feel overdressed than to arrive in an interview room in a t-shirt and shorts and find yourself surrounded by people in suits!
Finally, in terms of preparation, bring your CV with you, a notepad with your research notes and pen, your ID in case they need to photocopy it, and a bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated.
During the interview
This is the most important thing to remember during a job interview. You should be confident and well-researched, of course, but the main thing is to still be you! Remember: the interview process is just as much for you to decide if the role and the company is the right fit for you, and the best way to do that is by being yourself.
Body language is important
If you’ve nervous, you may be tempted to fidget, talk less, and avoid eye contact: all of which don’t make a great first impression on an interviewer.
Before your interview, take a couple of deep breaths and try to calm your nerves, and enter the interview room with your shoulders back and a calm demeanor. Even if you still feel like a bundle of nerves on the inside, fake it! Make eye contact, have a firm handshake, and act confident - eventually, you might even start to relax and enjoy the interview. Read this article on some bad habits that could be hindering your success.
Be respectful when talking about previous and current employers
Most recruiters will agree that it is a bit of a red flag when a candidate talks negatively about all of their past job roles.
Of course, there are exceptions here, but as a general rule, stay polite and respectful when talking about your past experience and why you might be looking to move on to a new role. Your interview doesn’t need to know about the personal politics that drive you crazy in your current office!
After the interview
After your interview, you’ll usually be given a time frame in which you can expect to hear whether you have been successful or not.
If you are not given a time frame, or do not hear back from the company when they said you would, don’t be afraid to follow up for an answer or feedback if you were unsuccessful.
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Develop the skills you need to get that job.
This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.
About the Author
Sam Summers is the communication assistant at Resume.io has a passion for writing and travel, loves her dog and is great at playing the piano. Sam has a considerable experience in maintaining web content, executing social media strategies, preparing presentations and reports, and is responsible for content writing and proofreading.