Sometimes just thinking about an interview can send your nerves into overdrive, but don't just push it to the back of your mind until the day before. Be proactive, get organised and take a look at these tips!
The week before
It might sound like a cliché that you've heard before from teachers, lecturers or parents, but if you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail! Give yourself the best chance of success by putting in a bit of work prior to the interview.
- Do your research on the company and the job.
- Read over your application form or CV so that the information you provided is fresh in your mind.
- Practise some typical interview questions and answers.
- Double check when your interview is – turning up on the wrong day or at the wrong time is not going to impress a prospective employer.
- Get your outfit ready in advance of the day, making sure it looks clean and smart.
Our articles on Preparing for an interview, Standard interview questions and Competency-based interviews – how to prepare have some useful information and advice.
At the interview
Good body language and manners help to create a good first impression, so don't stroll in while chewing gum or checking your phone! In fact, make sure you've turned your phone off well before you're due to go in for your interview. Also remember to:
- be polite and courteous
- make eye contact with the interviewer throughout
- sit up straight and try not to fidget, even if you are nervous.
The question and answer part of the interview is where you can really sell yourself and if you've done some prep work you should be armed with some really good examples of your skills, experience and strengths. Here are some useful tips.
- Listen carefully to anything the interviewer tells you or asks you. If you don’t understand a question, or you didn’t hear it properly, ask the interviewer to repeat it – they won't mind and it shows that you want to be thorough.
- Take your time when answering a question and speak clearly. You can pause for a moment to consider before giving your answer.
- Make your answers as detailed as you can, remembering to keep it relevant to the question – sell yourself!
- Give honest answers – it's easy to get caught out if you lie or exaggerate your answers.
- Be positive and enthusiastic, both about yourself and about the job you are being interviewed for.
- Remember that an interview is a two-way process so you can ask questions too. It gives you chance to find out more about the company or the job and also shows your enthusiasm and interest. Have a look at our article Interview questions that you can ask to give you some ideas.
- At the end of the interview, remember to thank the interviewer for their time and make sure that you know what the next step in the process is. For example, when they are likely to make a decision, how they will inform you or whether there is another part to the interview process.
Give it your best shot and hopefully you'll land your dream job. If you do, then our article Preparing for your first day could be helpful.
If you do find out that you haven't been successful then have a look at our article What if you don't get the job? This provides some help and encouragement to keep you on track.
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