You’re getting closer and closer to being offered the job of your dreams but you just have one hurdle to get through – the interview. Thinking about coming face to face with your future employer might be daunting, but as long as you’ve done all the preparation you need, the interview should be nothing but a walk in the park.
You’ve done your preparation, you look the part and have practised your interview responses, so you should be on your way to acing your interview with your future employer. However, nerves can often get the better of people or certain questions can catch you out – so we’ve put together a few tips to help you become a master at interviews.
It might seem like a no brainer – but being on time is paramount. If you live close by to where your interview is, it can be tempting to leave it until the last minute to set off on your journey. However, you never know whether there will be traffic, a late bus or a delayed train. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your interview without rushing and panicking, otherwise this will be detrimental to your frame of mind once you are in the interview. Turning up late by even a minute will make a bad first impression.
You might feel that your interview begins once you are sat in front of your interviewer, but truthfully it begins the moment you walk through the door. Make sure you are polite with everyone you come across before starting your interview, and that means absolutely everyone – that “receptionist” who met you at the door and the “mailman” walking around might just be your future managers. Make conversation in a friendly and professional manner, however, do not talk too much or prevent anyone from doing their job.
Your body language speaks volumes before you even say a word – so ensure you have a positive aura about you, whilst staying professional and calm. Keep your chin up (but not too high!) and your back straight, fold your hands not your arms, and remember to smile and make eye contact. Speak in a confident manner and speak properly – do not use slang. Even if you take longer than usual to respond, thinking before you speak is better than blurting something out mindlessly. All of this will go a long way to ensuring you create a lasting, positive impression on your potential employer.
Of course, you have done your pre-interview preparation but it can help if you arrive at the interview with materials that can help you. Take a folder with you that contains a copy of your CV, a list of references and any information about the company you may need – it will show the employer that you’re organised and conscientious. If you’re applying for a writing or creative role, turn up with a few samples of your work, or an entire portfolio – which ever works best. In these cases, turning up empty handed will show the employer that you’re unorganised and haven’t put much forethought into your interview. You want this job and you are right for the role – the proof is in the pudding, as they say, so show them with your work.
Be prepared to answer some of the most obvious questions that will come up in the interview. You will always be asked at least one or two questions and often times they are ones you will be able to prep an answer for in advance. Practise responses to a few common questions, then which ever come up you should be able to answer them in a lucid manner.
You should prepare questions to ask the interviewers as well. In every interview there is a chance for you to ask any questions you might have so it’s best to make sure you have a few up your sleeve – as the answer to some may be given during the interview process. Coming to an interview with no questions shows you are not very interested, don’t really care and have put no time into preparations – a big black mark next to your name.
Lastly, and most importantly – just be yourself. You’ll be in a professional interview setting so it might seem convenient to panic and lie when you don’t have the ‘perfect’ answer to a question, such as not having enough experience or knowledge, but they’ll always find out the truth, especially if you get the job! So plan, prepare, and present well, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so make yours count!
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