Oscar offers their top tips on how to prepare for and how to conduct yourself during an interview
If you’ve been in your current role for some time, you may feel you are a bit rusty sitting in front of an interviewer.
Alternatively, you may be an old hand at interviewing, but it always pays to be prepared.
Here are our top tips on how to prepare for and how to conduct yourself during an interview.
Research The Company
What Are Its Products Or Services? What Size Is It? Who Are Their Competitors?
Your consultant will be able to help you with information about the company and where to find this; but you should conduct some personal research (the company’s website, brochure, social media, figures etc).
Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant to what this company is looking for and rehearse these.
Be prepared to explain any unusual parts of your CV, such as any time taken out from employment, education or travelling.
How Will The Interview Be Structured?
Most Interviews Follow A Similar Format, But Some May Contain Technical And/Or Psychometrical Tests. Usually, Interviews Will Include The Following.
Questions based on your CV to explain your career path and ambitions.
Pick out your skills or achievements that are directly relevant, and rehearse these.
General questions about you.
- How much do you know about the job?
- What interests you about the job?
- Who and what were you responsible for in your last job?
- Can you give an example of when you coped well under pressure?
- Do you prefer to work as an individual or as part of a team?
- What are the biggest achievements so far in your career?
- What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses?
- What are your long-term goals? How are you going to succeed in achieving them?
- Are you considering any other jobs?
Asking Relevant Questions Shows You Are Interested, Organised And Able To Plan Ahead
Salary and benefits are important, but an employer will be more impressed if you ask questions about the company, the department and the job first.
The following are good questions to ask:
- Training opportunities.
- Who you would report to.
- Who you will be working with.
- Promotion prospects and career progression.
- How the role is important to the company.
- What direction the company/department is going.
- What projects are current / on the horizon?
- Whether there is a second or third round of interviews.
- When you are likely to receive feedback / get a decision.
- How long the interviewer has been with the company and why they like it there.
- Ask if there is anything the interviewer is unsure about regarding you and if they have any queries you can clear up.
Find Out About The Details Of The Interview
What’s the date, time and location?
Allow plenty of time for travel; aim to arrive at least 15 minutes early.
- If you are held up, phone ahead and let us know.
- If possible, do a trial run (check transport timetables or parking availability).
Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job.
- An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
- Concentrate on positive words!
Who will be interviewing you?
- There may be technical interviewers, Managers / Directors or HR / Personnel staff, or a mixture of all of them.
- Don’t forget they will all have their own view of the company and what they’re looking for from this role.
How should you dress?
- First impressions are important! Dress suitably, be well groomed and wear something you are comfortable in.
- Your consultant can advise if you are unsure, but a suit and tie for gentlemen and trouser suit or jacket and skirt are recommended for ladies unless you have been told otherwise.
- Gentlemen should be cleanly shaven unless you have a beard (no stubble).
- If possible wear a slightly different outfit for a second interview at the same company.
What should you take with you?
- Relevant certificates and references.
- Notepad and pen for notes - If you want to take notes during the interview do make sure that the interviewer is OK with this.
- Your prepared questions – if you don’t write them down beforehand you may forget what you wanted to ask!
During The Interview
- Switch off your mobile.
- Shake the interviewer’s hand firmly when he/she offers.
- Look alert and sit upright, eye contact is important.
- Be yourself and be honest at all times.
- Listen carefully, concentrate and don’t interrupt.
- Show interest.
- Talk slowly and clearly.
- Keep your answers clear and to the point.
- Take time if necessary before answering a question or ask for clarification if you are unsure of the meaning.
- Don’t be afraid to admit if you can’t answer the question.
- Don’t criticise your current employer, or reveal confidential/controlled information/documentation.
- Find opportunities to sell yourself, relating your skills to the job. An employer is looking for determination, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.
- Concentrate on positive words such as “enthusiastic”, “interesting” and “enjoyable” etc.
Ending The Interview
- Thank your interviewers for their time – however you feel the interview has been.
- If you are impressed by what the interviewer has had to say and by the company, in general, let them know that you feel that way.
- If you want the job don’t be afraid to tell the interviewer that you want it and would like to work with them.
After The Interview
Please call your consultant as soon as possible with your feedback. The sooner we have your feedback and know you are out of the interview, the sooner we can ascertain feedback for you from the client.