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Job interview tips

Making a good first impression

First impressions count! An interviewer will make a judgement within the first few seconds of an interview, so it’s important to make sure it’s a good impression.

Part of this is how you dress. Think about how you want to be seen by the interviewer. You want to portray a professional image, therefore dressing professionally and appearing well groomed will show you are a confident person who takes pride in themselves and can be trusted to represent the company.

Similarly, you want to appear confident through your actions. Arrive early, smile and greet the interviewer appropriately. There’s no point looking the part if you turn up late and flustered.

Research the employer prior to your interview

Part of job interview preparation is researching your potential employer. Google the employer and check out their website and any social media sites they may have. You can use the information you learn from this to demonstrate your knowledge in the interview and impress the interviewer, as well as to build any questions you may want to ask.

Sell yourself

An interview is the perfect time for you to show the employer why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Analyse the job description and pick out skills you have which would help you carry out the tasks stated. You can use previous experiences, qualifications you have gained or examples to demonstrate how you would be successful in the role.

Use the ‘STAR’ method and tailor your answers to suit the job you’re applying for:

  • Situation: Give a brief overview of the situation you found yourself in to provide some context.
  • Task: Describe what you were doing and what the challenge was.
  • Action: Explain what you did to complete the task and overcome any challenges.
  • Results: Reveal the outcome.

Body language

Your body language says a lot about you, so you need to make sure you’re aware of how you’re presenting yourself.

Using your hands to talk can make you appear more animated and help you communicate, however you don’t want to go overboard.

If you’re a fidgeter, you need to make a conscious effort to avoid fiddling with things, such as pens or jewellery.

You want to look professional and confident in yourself, so avoid slouching in your chair or folding your arms. Try smiling and maintain eye contact with your interviewer.

Dealing with nerves

Nerves before an interview are common and normal. If you have done all the correct job interview preparation, you should be feeling confident in your knowledge, however being able to control your nerves during the interview is key.

You want to come across as calm and confident, so don’t rush to answer any questions. Listen carefully to what the interviewer says, think about your answers and draw on what you have prepared.

Ask questions

You should have come up with a few questions from your pre-interview preparation, so now is the time to ask away.

Asking intelligent questions shows the interviewer that you have taken an interest in the company and are serious about the position. Asking questions about progression, the future and what can be expected shows you are a forward thinker and want to develop and grow the company.

Don’t overshare

Be careful about the information you share with the interviewer. Of course you will have to discuss a lot of personal information, such as your previous jobs and reasons for leaving, however if you’ve had any issues or bad experiences, you don’t want to mention these. This will make you look unprofessional and personal and may cause the interviewer to consider your attitude to your work.

Similarly, if you have any personal or private issues in your life, you want to avoid talking about these as you could run the risk of looking unprofessional or cause the interviewer to worry you may be distracted in work by your private life.

End on a positive note

At the end of the interview, enquire what the next steps are or when you can expect to hear back on the outcome of your interview. Once everything is done, thank the interviewer for their time and tell them that you look forward to hearing from them.

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