Acing the interview

Interview tips and techniques: Now you’ve got an interview and of course you’re nervous, everyone is, so here’s a few interview tips to get you through.

  • I’ll start with the obvious; do a dry run beforehand if you can, get there early and dress smartly but make sure it’s comfortable – you want to be focusing on the interview not your painful new shoes.
  • Do your research. In this day and age there is absolutely no excuse for not researching the organisation beforehand. I recently conducted 5 interviews in a day and 3 of the candidates had done no research, didn’t understand the issues we were currently facing and didn’t get the job.
  • Think about your body language; firm handshake, smile, eye contact. When you sit down don’t perch on the edge of the chair and watch out for fidgeting. When I’m nervous I fiddle with my bracelet and rings, but at least I’m aware of that and can control it. What are your nervous tics?
  • Don’t twist questions. You may not like the question but tough, it’s been asked, don’t twist it and give a different answer instead.
  • Most employers these days ask “Behavioural Questions” which focus on drawing out examples of things you’ve done. For example “Can you tell me about a time when you’ve had to deal with an angry customer?” Before your interview go through the job description and think of an example you could use for each bullet point.
  • Take in an interview pack. In all my years I’ve only ever known of 1 interviewer objecting to this. It’s an interview not a memory test so take in a copy of your CV, the job description, an example of some research you’ve done on the organisation and maybe a certificate or 2 to prove your qualifications. Don’t go over the top – just enough to let them know how seriously you’re taking this.
  • Focus on ‘I’ and try to avoid ‘we’. You want to make it very clear to the interviewers what you personally have achieved. By all means mention your team but don’t down play your role in it.
  • Think of some good questions for them at the end, 2 or 3 should do it. “How will my performance be measured?”, “How has the vacancy arisen?”, “How is the department viewed by the rest of the organisation?” and “Are there any concerns you have that I could clear up?” are all pretty good and should impress.
  • At the end thank them for their time and clarify the timescales. Remember to update them if any of your contact details have changed.
  • Send a follow up thank you letter or email reiterating your suitability for the role.

Beth Pipe is a Learning and Development Professional and freelance writer. You can find more of her professional work here: bethpipe.hubpages.com/

You can also follow her at @cumbrianrambler on Twitter.

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