Advice

How to be successful at a job interview

By Kaiya Simon

Are you heading into the world of work after university? Are you applying for your first ever job? Are you applying for a graduate scheme? This article will help you successfully prepare and give you the confidence to enter the interview stage of this process.

Before going into your interview, take the time to learn about the industry or business you could potentially be going into. Conducting company research and gathering background information about your employer is vital as they will expect you to know things about them and why you will fit in. Be prepared to hear the questions “What do you know about this company?” and “Why would you like to work here?” a lot.

The next step towards a successful interview is practicing beforehand. It is good to look over questions, buzzwords and facts so you have an idea about what to discuss whilst you’re at the interview. You can do this with a friend or a family member and ask for their honest feedback. Another option is to record your responses so you can see how you’ve answered the questions, whether you use the right etiquette and you can analyse your body language.

You must also prepare for the different types of interviews you might have. In my first interview I didn’t know what to expect but ended up in a group interview where we had the chance to discuss answers and work as a team. Other types of interviews include phone or video interviews, out of office interviews or individual interviews. Whichever the case, you need to stand out.

You should also dress for success at an interview and decide what to wear beforehand. Your first impression is very important therefore you need to look professional and appropriate for the type of environment you will be in. Alongside this you will need to make a list of what to bring and what not to bring along to the interview. This would usually include an extra copy of your CV and a pen and notepad to take notes. Doing this shows that you’re genuinely interested in learning and about the company in general. Also remember to introduce yourself and include a handshake to make a good impression.

Avoiding common mistakes such as arriving late, carrying a drink around, having your phone on loud and not paying attention is essential. These things are unprofessional and distract you from focusing on the task at hand, which is to sell your strengths of why you should be employed to the company.

Most importantly, remember to stay calm and avoid stress on the day of your interview. Of course, being nervous is natural and is also a good thing as it shows that you care about what you’re doing, but you can’t let the nerves take over whilst you are in the room. Make sure you arrive 15 minutes early, use the bathroom beforehand and remember that this will be around one hour of your life that you’re well prepared for. Remember to take time before you answer the questions and that it is okay to ask the employer to repeat the questions.

Overall, looking the part, acting professionally, practicing and doing your research is the best preparation for an interview. If it doesn’t go well, you will have had the experience of what it’s like and gained some confidence in preparation for the future.

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