The major difference between candidates who are offered jobs and ones who don’t all comes down to preparation. Although if this is not something you’re used to doing, how do you prepare for an interview? This is actually a very good question because unless you know in advance what questions the hiring manager will ask, couldn’t you waste time preparing the wrong answers? This blog post won’t give you a list of questions a hiring manager is likely to ask.* However, what this post will give you are some useful tips for your job interview that will help you prepare for all the little details which usually trip candidates up!
Top 10 Most Useful Tips For Your Job Interview
1 – Be Prepared
Knowing where their interview locations are in advance enables the coolest candidates to arrive unflustered and in plenty of time. Make sure you confirm the day before, exactly where and when the interview is due to take place and allow sufficient time to get there on the day.
If you are working with a recruitment consultant, make sure you get the name and job title of your interviewer. Knowing their details in advance will give you the opportunity to look up their LinkedIn profile so you have a visual reference of the person you are meeting. Additionally, this will enable you to double-check their office location and telephone number, so you can call them in case of emergency.
2 – Be Knowledgeable
When we say this, we mean knowing your own job. Many interviewers will ask questions which involve giving examples of how you have behaved in a previous role. That’s why part of your preparation should always be carrying a copy of your resume or CV with you. Having it on the table in front of you can ensure you don’t forget important details such as dates.
3 – Be Informed
Advance research ahead of a job interview is one area where a recruitment agency’s expert advice can really give you the edge over other candidates. Ask the recruitment consultant you are working with if they can give you some insider knowledge of the business you are interviewing with.
If you are applying directly, one of the most valuable interview tips we have to offer is to make sure you research the company website. In this digital age, there is absolutely no excuse for not and familiarizing yourself with what a potential employer does.
Checking out an employer’s social media feed can also give you an insight into what their company culture is like.
4 – Be Astute
Interviewers ask many general questions in addition to questions of a technical nature. Why are you interested in this position? What are your strengths? Where do your weaknesses lie? Why do you think you’re the best person for the job?
Have answers to these questions ready. You should always have some questions of your own to ask. Things like, “If I perform well, how can I progress within the position?” and “What are the future plans for the company and the department?”
5 – Be Smart
First impressions really do count. Whether you like it or not, you are judged by the way you look, so dress smartly. This doesn’t have to mean wearing a suit. Many company dress codes are more relaxed than they used to be. Make sure you are aware of their officewear policy before you attend the interview.
Although, even if the company you’re interviewing at does allow casual clothing in the office, whatever you wear should be clean and ironed.
Whatever you wear for your interview, remember to wear your smile! You’ll be surprised at how far the simple act of smiling can get you.
6 – Be Assertive
There’s nothing wrong with being assertive, as long as you don’t come across as being aggressive. Find the correct tone to present your positive points. By all means, talk about your achievements, but at the same time, try not to brag about them.
Your body language can go a long way in expressing your assertiveness. A few examples which can really make a difference are making eye contact and having a firm handshake. It may sound silly but it’s worth practising your handshake and asking others for feedback.
7 – Be Positive
Whatever you do, don’t speak negatively about your current employer. This won’t get you anywhere. If the way you happen to feel about your employer is negative, think about how you can turn these feelings into a positive.
For example, maybe you don’t feel like your employer pays you what you’re worth. Rather of saying that, how about turning this around and saying that you’re looking for career advancement. Furthermore, giving an example of how you think this role will enhance your skillset.
8 – Be Alert
It may sound obvious but getting a good night’s sleep can make paying attention much easier in an interview. Although, this can be easier said than done when pre-interview nerves kick in!
9 – Be Honest
We all have job weaknesses, so don’t be afraid to admit yours. But be careful not to overdo it and talk your way out of a job. Discuss your weaknesses as though you’ve identified them and are working at overcoming them. For instance, you might tell the interviewer you used to have a time management problem, but you’ve rectified this by prioritising your workload first thing each morning. Or you could admit to sometimes finding it difficult to delegate and go on to say that when you do delegate, the results have been positive.
10 – Be Clear
Rehearsing your answers with others gives you the opportunity to clear up any points about your history you may consider to be clear but others do not. Being clear on what you are saying not only reassures the interviewers that you know your job but that you also have good communication skills.
Questions To Expect in a Face to Face Interview
The kinds of questions you might be asked in a second stage interview will vary according to the role. However, bear in mind that interviews at this stage usually last about an hour and the answers you give should include a lot more detail than responses you might give during a telephone interview. Expect second round interview questions such as:
- Tell us a little bit about yourself
- What do you know about our company?
- Can you tell us about a time when… Questions starting like this are called competency-based interview questions and are commonplace in second round interviews. They can be used to investigate how candidates behave in many different scenarios. To anticipate what the interviewers may ask here, consider how your experience relates to the role you are applying for
- Technical questions in relation to the role. Be prepared to explain how you have performed similar tasks in your current/previous jobs
- Why do you think you are a good candidate for this job?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
- Now that you know a little bit more about this position, would you accept it if we made you an offer?
The last few questions below, are the most awkward interview questions that we find candidates most commonly struggle with. So much so, that we have written individual guides for tackling each topic. You can find out more by clicking the links below.
- Why are you looking for a new job?
- What are your salary expectations?
- Where do you see yourself in five years?
Following the useful tips for your job interview above should be enough to convince any prospective employer that you are a great fit for their role!
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We wish you the very best of luck with your job search and any subsequent interviews which may arise.