The hours spent perfecting your CV and application have paid off and you’ve been invited for an interview – congratulations! But it’s not time to relax just yet, you still have one of the most important stages to come.
A successful interview will significantly boost your chances of impressing the hiring manager and landing the job. Alice Greedus, PR & Communications Assistant from the CV Library job site, has pulled together her top tips to ensure that your interview runs smoothly.
You need to walk in prepared. Yes, you might not know exactly what questions you’ll be asked, but there are other ways to ensure you’re ready. For instance, you could look up the most common interview questions and prepare general answers and examples that you can refer to during the interview.
Next, conduct a ‘Sherlock Holmes style’ investigation of the company. Scour their website, find the company’s goals, values and get a feel for their culture. Then search their social media pages to understand who they are and what they represent.
Another handy tool is ‘Google News’. Use the tab above the google search bar to search for any news articles or press coverage the company has recently had. These could all be good talking points during the interview.
And your preparation shouldn’t stop here. You need to know the job description inside out. The employer may ask you questions about your responsibilities or the skills they’re looking for. Plus you need to be able to demonstrate that you’re suited to the role.
Proving your value
You need to prove to the interviewer that you have the skills they want. If you don’t have a great deal of experience, be sure to sell your transferable skills. For instance, if you’re part of a sports team this might show you work well in a team. Or if you have a part time job you may have learnt organisation and time-management skills.
So shout about your past achievements, but importantly relate it back to how these experiences can benefit the company.
You need to mimic the interviewer’s behaviour and level of professionalism. Even if you feel comfortable in the situation, avoid sounding too informal or behaving too casually. This means speaking properly and staying away from slang words. After all, you want to show that you take the role seriously.
A trait that the interviewer will be looking for is manners. They want to hire someone who is a positive reflection on their company. So remember to say please and thank you and be friendly and polite at all times.
While it’s important to be keen and show enthusiasm, don’t take it too far. You don’t want to risk overwhelming the interviewer or coming across as false.
Normally at the end of the interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Don’t let the hiring manager be met with a ‘no’, then silence. This could look like you don’t care about the role or aren’t interested in the company. Especially if other candidates were really engaged with the interviewer.
Aim to ask at least two questions. You can have a think before the interview about what these questions might be. Remember, this is also your chance to decide if the company is right for you, not just for the interviewer to decide if you’re right for the role.
What’s more, avoid asking certain interview questions if you really want the job. Specifically about salary, perks and holidays, as it could look like you want the job for these rather than because you like the role.
Here’s some examples of great questions you could ask:
- How would you describe the company culture at (name of company)?
- What path do you see for the company over the next five years?
- What do you like best about working for this company?
- When can I expect to hear back from you about your decision?
- How has this position evolved?
The interviewer will appreciate an email thanking them for their time. It’s not only polite, but will also help to keep you in mind when they’re making their decision. So aim to do this within a day after the interview.
Plus, it puts you at an advantage to those who haven’t bothered to say thank you. After all, if your skills and talents are on par with another applicant this just might be the deciding factor that you’re right for the job. But be careful with your wording and timing – there are some mistakes you want to avoid when sending a job interview follow-up.
Here’s an example of what you could write:
Dear (interviewer’s name)
Thank you for taking the time to speak with me about the (name of role). It was great to learn more about the company and position.
I’m enthusiastic about the prospect of joining your team, and after our conversion I am confident that I have the skills and requirements to excel in this role.
I look forward to hearing from you about your decision. Thank you again for your time and consideration.
While attending an interview can seem pretty nerve wracking it’s important to stay calm and focus on your strengths. If you can perfect your interview skills, you’ll be one step closer to landing your dream job. So make sure you follow the advice above to help you.