Here is your very own handy guide to ensuring you make a good impression at interview and improve your chances of success.
- Do your research – make sure you spend some time looking on their website and social media pages to familiarise yourself with the business. Write down a few key facts about them that resonate with you to show why you would be a good fit!
- Think about some key questions that you might be asked and write down some answers that you can refer to – what are your strengths? Weaknesses? Goals? Biggest achievement? Biggest challenge?
- Make sure you know where you are going – check the route and how long it will take you to get there. Make sure you know where to park your or which public transport you need to take. Aim to get there at least 20 minutes early so you don’t have to rush.
- Questions – prepare 3-5 questions about the role and the company; this shows that you are interested and engaged. (See below for sample questions if you are struggling.)
- Spend 10 minutes outside going through your notes and preparing what to say before you go inside.
- It goes without saying, but make sure you are clean and well groomed!
- Wear business dress unless told otherwise but make sure you feel comfortable.
- Shake hands – a good, firm handshake demonstrates confidence as well as social etiquette. Introduce yourself and thank the interviewer for making time to see you.
- Maintain good eye contact and smile!
- If you are offered a drink, always accept – not only will it help with nerves but taking a sip before you answer a question will buy you time to think about your answer.
- Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine – make a few jokes if you feel comfortable, they’ve already seen your CV, now they want to get to know you!
- Most 1st stage interviews will take a standard format – background about yourself and your CV, information about the role and the company, specific questions about how your experience relates to the role and what you could bring to the company, followed by any further questions from yourself.
- Make sure you back up all your answers with examples! This demonstrates your understanding of the question as well as highlighting your experience.
- Turn any negative into a positive – for example, what have you done to overcome previous challenges? If there is an area of the role that you don’t have experience in, how would you ensure you could still deliver this aspect of the role?
- Remember that interviews are a 2 way street – you want to make sure that they are the right fit for you and that you will be happy there, just as much as they want to know you are the right person for the job so I can’t reiterate enough: ask questions!
- Don’t be secretive or avoid any questions that you don’t want to answer, be honest and upfront.
- Make sure you leave on a positive note – this could be your only chance to make a good impression!
- Confirm next steps – when will you hear from them? Will there be a 2nd round of interviews and if so, what preparation is expected? Do they have many other candidates to see?
- Offer and ask for feedback! Most people won’t have the confidence to ask there and then so this will really help you stand out – if you know you want the job, tell them you are excited about this opportunity and hope they feel the same, do they have any concerns that you can address? Can you see me fitting in here? What are the others candidates like and how do I compare? Trust me, it’s better to ask these questions now than spending the next few days wondering how it went and if you could have done anything more to seal the deal.
- Shake hands, smile and thank them for their time!
- Why has the position become available?
- Who will I be reporting into, and working alongside?
- What would a typical day/week look like for me?
- If there are other people doing similar roles, who is the top performer and what makes them so good at their role?
- What plans does the company have for growth over the next 5 years?
- What is the team/company culture like?
- Is there opportunity for career progression and what does this look like?
- What would my induction process be? Is there ongoing training available?
- How often will I have reviews or 1-1s with my line manager?
- Is there opportunity for bonus or performance related pay increase?
- What will my targets be? How often will these be reviewed?
- Who is your longest serving member of staff been here? How long have they been here and what has made them stay so long?
- Why have people not worked out in the past?
- Who would your perfect candidate for this position be? What skills, attitude, knowledge would they have and how do I compare in your view?
- My future goals are _____, would this be possible here?
- From my research, your main competitors seem to be____, ____ and ____, would this be correct and how do you compare to them?
- What is the company’s USP? What makes you stand out in the market place?