How to nail an interview
Getting invited for an interview is a fantastic achievement – you are now in the fortunate position of being able to present and sell yourself with the hope of receiving a job offer. Here are some top tips for staying in control during your interview and making the most of the opportunity you have been given.
Do your research
It pays to spend some time researching the organisation you will be interviewing with - delve deeper into the job description and think of questions you would like to ask (or see our Questions you should ask at an interview). If you do your homework, it will be clear to the interviewers that you have put in the effort and you’ll be putting yourself at ease too. If you find yourself in a situation where you experience a challenging question, this becomes much easier to deal with having read around your job role and you will be able think of a more informed response to an unexpected question. See how to answer these common interview questions.
The last thing you want on the day of your interview is to feel rushed or under pressure. If you are unfamiliar with the area the job is based in, then do a test journey to gauge how long it will take you to travel to your interview. Avoiding lateness will make you much more confident and you can then focus your energy on the interview itself. Make sure you leave a wide window of time to get ready and use this time to carry out a checklist of everything you will need during the day. Leave nothing to chance.
Even if you are sure that employees dress casually at the organisation you are interviewing with, dressing smartly makes a good impression and tells interviewers that you have the right attitude. Making sure you are comfortable is good too – there is nothing wrong with accepting an offer of water, in fact, this might make you feel less nervous.
Be friendly and polite but don’t overcompensate. It can be a nerve wracking experience but avoid waffling and keep your answers simple and to the point. Remind yourself to pause before starting a new sentence so you don’t speak too quickly. By all means, go into detail about your past experience and qualifications but keep it relevant to what the interviewers want to know.
Don’t Fake It
While it’s good to sell yourself, don’t be tempted to exaggerate aspects of your CV – interviewers may read this as a sign that you are overcompensating because you’re lacking the essential requirements for the role. If you don’t have the technical skills required, for example, but you feel your experience can be useful then focus on that. The same goes for attempting to explain away a gap in your CV – if you have had to take a career break to care for relatives, children or to travel, you shouldn’t feel the need to hide these experiences – honesty is the best policy. For roles that require more experience, see our 4 steps to land an entry level position that requires years of experience.
The only thing left to do is to nail the interview – remember that going to an interview is an experience you can learn from, so you will gain something regardless of whether you get the job.