Thanks to your hard work – and the tips in our previous blog – you’ve made it to your interview. You’ve got the right time and place, are dressed appropriately and have thoroughly researched the company and the role.
Now the real work begins – but don’t panic, we’re here to guide you though the interview process, including some inspired ideas for that question everyone hates…
Mind your (body) language
First impressions count, so make sure you smile and appear confident. Yes, you’re nervous, but take a few deep breaths, sit up straight and enjoy selling yourself.
As well as smiling, eye contact is important, as it shows confidence – but not so much that you make the interviewer sweat. Nodding along to key points is a good trick too, as it makes you look engaged and interested.
Feel the fear – and do it anyway!
Unless you’re a robot, you’re bound to feel nervous before and during an interview, but, believe it or not, this can work in your favour – yes, really.
Think about it – if you’re nervous, it means you care, and that’s what your prospective employer is looking for. Being arrogant or, worse, complacent can put interviewers off – didn’t your parents always tell you that nobody likes a show-off?
But if your nerves are threatening to take over, there are plenty of calming exercises you can do to take the edge off – but, whatever you do, don’t be tempted by a drink (or eight) to give you some Dutch courage.
Most interviews follow the same structure and use similar questions. With this in mind, you can prepare some answers for the questions you can guarantee will come up. If anything does throw you, take your time to consider your answer, and don’t be afraid to (politely) say if you don’t understand the question.
Obviously, your answers will depend on all sorts of variables, but there are certain things all employers want to hear. Hint: It’s not about your childhood hobbies or that you’re looking for a new job after running over your last boss’s prize poodle.
After you’ve clearly demonstrated your skills and your sparkling personality, you might think you’re home and dry – but then they hit you with the big one…
Do you have any questions for us?
No matter that we all know we’ll reach this point, it can still throw even the most confident interviewee – worryingly, no is still the most common answer.
If you don’t have any questions, you risk coming across as passive or incurious – and neither of these are a good look! Equally, it’s not a good idea to ask about pay or benefits, as this can make you seem more interested in what the organisation can do for you, rather than what you can do for them
Ideally your answer will touch upon something you’ve found out in the interview, or discovered during your research, for example asking about the issues the company currently faces. You want to look engaged and enthusiastic, and also make it clear you’ve done your research.
You’ve done your best and hopefully wowed your interviewer, so leave on a high – a big smile, thanks to your interviewer for their time and handshakes all round mean you’ll leave a positive impression.
For extra Brownie points, it’s good practice to email your interviewer within 24 hours, to express your thanks for the opportunity. This shows both basic good manners and also reiterates how important the job is to you – both of which will stand you in good stead.
Hopefully, armed with these tips, you’ve impressed with your ability and charm, and so all you can do now is wait for the phone to ring – fingers crossed!