Having been on at least a hundred interviews since graduating (okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it was definitely a lot!) I am somewhat an expert in interview techniques. Even more so because one of those interviews actually landed me a job. So, here are my Top Tips for interviews!
- Don’t schedule too many interviews in the same day!
I have made this mistake and been to three interviews in one day. It is stressful. It is overwhelming. It is really not worth it. That position will still be open tomorrow so just tell them you’re unavailable and reschedule. Of course, that’s not to say don’t go to as many as you can, because you should. You should go to as many interviews as possible, just to get some great experience and understand how to answer questions in a way that employers want them answered. This will help you when you inevitably end up in an interview for your dream position, and you can really show them what you’re made of.
Preparation is key to everything in life but especially in the workplace. The most obvious thing is to look up potential questions you could be asked and make sure to have a solid answer when it comes down to it. Answering “because I need a job” when asked why you’re interested in a particular position is going to get you nowhere. Also make sure to research the company you’ve applied to beforehand and always bring a list of relevant questions to ask in your interview, like “What’s the day-to-day role like? What kind of opportunities are there to progress in-house? What is expected of me in terms of performance?”. This will show the company that not only have you done your research, but also that you seem genuinely interested in what they do.
- Make notes and take notes.
Now this might vary role-to-role, but I was advised from a recruiter to take notes into my interview. They’re actual hard evidence which show that you’ve prepared, that you’re interested, and that you’re human. You’re not expected to remember every caveat you’ve learned about the business, but a page of well-organised notes will show that you’ve actually taken the time and effort to look them up. No one would expect you to go into a business meeting without notes and un-prepared. Interviews are no different.
- Dress to Impress.
I cannot stress this enough. Your appearance reveals so much about you, and if you turn up to an interview in jeans and a t-shirt, it doesn’t say much about how you view the company and the position they’re offering. I’m not saying you have to turn up in a three-piece-suit, but a shirt and smart trousers/skirt go a long way. This applies to retail and part-time jobs too; just because you don’t think the staff need to dress smartly, doesn’t mean you should arrive at interview with a ‘not-bothered’ vibe.
- Keep calm.
My second interview was nearly a trainwreck. The interviewers (now my team leader and manager) were grilling me to no end, constantly questioning and undermining every answer I gave them. But I kept my cool, asserted my position and didn’t budge. And now I have a job. Because they want you to succeed and they want to see how you’ll do under pressure. It’s nothing personal, it’s just for them to see you in that environment, so take the heat, fight your corner, and keep calm and carry on.
Happy hunting, readers! Let me know how you all get on in the dreaded Graduate Job Hunt.