Best Tips For A Job Interview

by A Guest Author

Congratulations! Getting to the interview stage of a job application is itself an achievement, though you can't rest on your laurels just yet. Here are some top tips for giving yourself the best possible chance of success.

Look after yourself

Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before. Make sure you eat breakfast (and lunch if it's an afternoon interview). What's your favourite way of relaxing? Treat yourself to a long bath, go for a walk, spend an hour reading in a café. Preparing well is important, but there comes a point when the most important thing is to get yourself into a calm state of mind.

Make sure you know what's required

Some interviews require you to prepare a presentation on a topic, or be prepared to speak about something in particular. Carefully read everything you get sent when invited to the interview to avoid being caught out.

Plan your travel and leave plenty of spare time

Make sure you know exactly where you need to go, and what time you need to get there. Plan your travel in advance, including contingency plans for if something goes wrong. Build in plenty of spare time: if you arrive far too early you can always find a café to sit in for a while, but if you arrive late, you might blow your chances before the interview even starts.

Do your research

Read widely and deeply about the organisation you want to join, and the position you want to be given. What are your favourite things about the organisation? Their culture? Their ethos? Their mission? The way they treat their customers or their staff? Be prepared to talk knowledgably about this.

Prepare examples of things you've done well

A lot of employers not operate a 'competency-based' form of interviewing. This means they expect you to give specific example of things you've done which illustrate the competencies they're looking for. Think of examples in the 'STAR' format: Situation (what was the situation that needed changing?) Task (what did you have to achieve?) Action (what did you do?) and Result (what was the outcome?). Remember to focus on your actions as an individual: how did you personally make a difference?

Think of honest answers to difficult questions

Some interviewers will ask questions about things that have gone wrong, or things you're not good at. 'Describe time when you've failed'. 'Describe your weaknesses'. Don't be tempted to name weaknesses that are really just strengths ('sometimes I'm a bit too perfectionist ...') Instead give an honest answer about something you struggle with and also what you're doing to get better at it.

Think of questions you want to ask the interviewers

It is likely that at the end of the interview you will be asked whether you have any questions. Think in advance of some things to ask here. Not having anything to ask may make you look uninterested or even unintelligent.

Don't assume the interviewers have memorised your application

It is likely that a large number of people are being interviewed, so although they will almost certainly have read your CV, covering letter and/or application form, they are likely to need reminding about your experience and skills.

Dress appropriately

Even if you are going for a job in which you will wear a uniform or casual clothes, wear a business suit to the interview. Both men and women should wear dark colours, and men should wear a tie. Don't feel you have to spend a lot of money, particularly if you won't be wearing a suit for many occasions other than the interview. Go to an online supplier like Simon Jersey to find good quality interview suits at low prices.

First impressions count

Even if you're nervous, make sure you smile at the interviewers and shake hands confidently (neither to firmly or too limply). Make eye contact with every member of the interview panel. Don't smoke just before the interview (it will be possible to smell it on you) and don't chew gum once in the building.

And finally, the most difficult tip of them all. Try to enjoy it!

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This post was written by A Guest Author

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