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Interview Advice

An interview is a conversation between two parties, it is used to gain information and facts about each other in order to see if the person is right for the interview. Everything is taken into account on Interview, from your appearance to the way you handle the questions asked. Here are some top tips to help you feel more confident at interview.

#1 - Be Prepared
Before your interview you should know where you are travelling too, plan your route and if you are not sure where the company are based, go there and find it before your interview. Leave in plenty of time for your interview, it is better to be early than late. You should look at the company website and gain background information on the company and what they do. It is often handy to take a note book with you for the interview.

#2 - First Impressions Count
As well as arriving early, you should know the name of the person you are there to see. The company have already gained an impression of you from the information on your CV, now is not the time to disappoint. You should always go in suitable interview attire, this is normally a smart suit, check with the agency or person who has organised the interview if you are not sure. It may sound basic, but always polish your shoes and have clean and tidy nails, every little thing is noted on the first impression.

#3 - Interview Questions
Interviews are more often than not ‘competency’ based interviews. This means the employer are looking for you to provide proof and evidence that you are competent in the areas for the role. When you were given a job description, they should have listed ‘key skills/competencies’ that they are looking for. You should go through these before the interview and have a list of specific examples of when you have dealt with these competencies. In competency based interviews, there is no right or wrong answer, it is all based on you providing enough evidence that you have the right experience. The technique I advise to use for these interviews is called STAR:

  • S - Situation – tell them about the specific situation and describe in detail
  • T - Task – Talk to them about the task you were doing and what you wanted to achieve
  • A - Action – describe the action that you took to resolve the task and situation
  • R - Result – Tell them about the outcome of your action and how the situation was closed

#4 - Body Language
We form an opinion within the first 13 seconds of meeting someone based on their body language. Body language attributes to between 50% - 80% of a person’s impression of you. Throughout the interview you should be aware of your body language, focus on positive signs for example eye contact and nodding your head shows that you are listening and agreeing with what is being said.

#5 - Questions To Ask
It is common for an interviewer to ‘close’ the interview with asking ‘do you have any questions’? This could be where you fall down. The best advice is to write down some questions you want to ask and have them ready! The kinds of questions you want to avoid are things like ‘what is your sickness policy?’, ‘what is you disciplinary and grievance policy?’ or ‘how many holidays do you offer?’ The kinds of questions you should consider are:

  • What is your team environment like
  • Do you have any social events that would help a new member become part of the team
  • Can you tell me more about ‘a day in the life’ of someone currently doing this role

#6 - Closing
Always thank the interviewer for their time in seeing you. It is always best to ask them when you can expect to hear from them and how they are going to contact you. This shows that you are keen for feedback and gives you a clear expectation.

#7 - Mistakes To Avoid
There are common mistakes that should be easily avoided in interview:

  • Fidgeting – this is common in most people when nervous, try to avoid having a ‘click’ pen, do not chew chewing gum and try and sit with your hands on your lap to avoid the temptation to fidget
  • Negative outlook on previous employer - you should never say anything negative about any previous employer on interview
  • Interrupting the interviewer – make sure you listen to the interviewer and avoid jumping in too soon
  • Not understanding the question – there is nothing wrong with asking the interviewer to repeat their question if you are unsure
  • Not researching the company – there is no excuse for not knowing the company and what they do

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