How To Ace The Interview
Looking for a new job can be a stressful time, but nothing compares to pre-interview nerves. In fact, you're not alone - most people admit to feeling anxious before the day.
We understand that interviewing for a role that might be a career-changer, a big promotion or simply a new challenge can cause you to worry more than usual but our top tips will help you ace the interview, anxieties aside.
Interview preparation is key
Making sure you prepare is possibly the most important aspect of any job interview. Preparing for an interview doesn't have to mean spending hours and hours learning each member of the management team's names or being able to say the company slogan backwards. Interview preparation is about understanding the role you're applying for, the organisation you're interviewing for and giving yourself a little confidence boost before the big day.
We suggest you start with the following:
- Research the company - make sure you understand their offerings and what they do best.
- Understand the role you've applied for - make sure you read the job specification a few times to really get to grips with their expectations of you. It's even a good idea to search for a similar role and look at other job descriptions to give yourself a really great knowledge base.
- Make sure you have the correct information - do you know the address? do you know who will be interviewing you? How long will it take you to get there?
- Ask any questions that you need answering prior to the interview - If you're confused about something they've mentioned, ask it now. I.e, do you know if you'll be interviewed by one person or a board of people? Is there parking on site? Are you expected to bring anything?
- Do some research and look up potential interview questions - having an idea of what you might say if you were asked a certain question will help you out during the interview and conveys confidence to your interviewer. There are lots of great articles out there on this.
- Always prepare a few questions that you can ask the interviewer - this is your time to iron out any concerns you might have and show the interviewer that you are interested in the role and the company.
What to wear to an interview
Possibly the most stressful aspect of any job interview is deciding what to wear. This can be especially difficult if you're unsure of the company culture or what type of interview you'll be attending. But fear not, we have some tips to help you decide.
- Think about the job you are applying for and the people you might work for - what do they wear to work? what would they wear to an important meeting? Can you emulate this?
- Have they specified interview attire? Did they say smart casual? Full suit and tie? Casual and relaxed?
- Wear what you feel is suitable. If you're applying for a senior management position, a smart suit might be a good idea. If you're applying for a job as a nurse, smart casual might be an option if you'll be meeting with a hospital's HR department.
- Think about it but don't stress about it. If in doubt, ask someone.
How to answer unexpected interview questions
We briefly mentioned preparing for your interview by thinking about how you might answer some common interviews questions, but what happens if they ask you a question you don't know how to answer or didn't see on the list of interview Q&As you came up with?
- Don't panic. Curveballs questions are thrown into interviews so that the interviewer can see how you work under pressure. They are looking to see if you can keep your composure. So, if you don't understand the question, ask them to clarify. If you need a few moments to think about it, ask for a little bit of time. These questions are there to trip you up but only to see how you can pick yourself back up.
- Be truthful. Don't try and lie to make yourself sound better - imagine how awkward it will be if they begin to probe you on it and you cant answer the questions.
Make sure your interviewer knows how great you are
This isn't always easy but try to sell yourself to the interviewer. You know your skills and strengths and if you've done your research, you'll know how they fit into the job you've applied for. Make sure you don't bury selling points either, start your answers with your skills and then continue on with an example of how you used that skill. Interviewers will ask you questions to establish an understanding of how you work in certain circumstances, this is your opportunity to sell yourself. "Tell me about a time you..." is always a great time to talk about how you utilised your most valuable skills.
Don't give up!
- Have you thought about sending a follow-up email or calling your interviewer letting them know that you think you could have done better but that you would be a good fit for the role? This shows determination and accountability and has worked for applicants in the past.
- If you don't get the job, always ask for feedback. You have a right to be provided with interview feedback and most interviewers will be willing to talk to you about your strengths and weakness, including why they thought you weren't right for the job.