How To: Nail That Job Interview

Aug 14, 2015


 By Lyndsey Hall

On the list of things that people dread the most, job interviews feature near the top; possibly even pipping networking to the post. But, with an estimated 70% of jobs never being advertised, chances are your next role could be the result of a connection you made at that Chamber event last month. Whether you impressed your potential new employer over the finger buffet at a networking lunch, or your CV caught their eye amidst an avalanche of prospective hires, you’ll probably have to attend an interview before the job is yours. For many, this is the pivotal moment where you either sink or swim. Interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you really want the job, but if you fit the bill on paper there’s no reason why you won’t get the job, as long as you follow our advice.

Here are our top tips for nailing that big interview and bagging the job of your dreams:


Believe in Yourself.

It goes without saying that you need to have the relevant skills/qualifications/experience for the role – but you can often supplement one with the other, and many job adverts go into far more detail than strictly necessary about the requirements for applicants. According to a well-known statistic, men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the requirements, women only apply if they meet 100%, so women are missing out on a vast number of jobs because they are put off applying by the restrictive job advert. If you feel confident that you meet the majority of the skills and qualification needs of the role, and you are willing to learn the rest or you have experience that supports your abilities, then go for it! Be confident in yourself and your prospective employer will believe you can do it too.

Dress to Impress.

Have you ever heard the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? This pearl of wisdom is never truer than when you have a job interview. In a survey of 2,000 hiring managers, 33% said they knew whether or not they would hire someone within 90 seconds. That puts a lot of pressure on your first impression, so make sure it’s a good one!

Interview dressing is about looking professional and appropriate to the role, so for some of you glamour pusses out there, this may mean dressing down. On a positive note, unless there is a uniform, once you start your new job you can reintroduce pieces from your normal wardrobe until you feel comfortable in your work wear, and look professional. 70% of interviewers said they don’t want applicants to be overly fashionable or trendy, and 65% said that clothes can be the deciding factor between two similar candidates; so getting it right at the interview is key. It’s best to avoid bright colours and bold prints, but you can add a small flash of colour with a scarf or tie if you want to inject some personality.

Watch Your Language.

Body language is a silent signal that can betray you even when your mouth is doing you proud; reciting your practiced answers with confidence and authority. If you slouch, cross your arms or fidget constantly the interviewer will pick up on it, and it could detract away from the great stuff you’re saying. A weak handshake; playing with your hair; constantly touching your face, or gesticulating wildly can make you look nervous or anxious. Failing to make eye contact with your interviewer and not smiling could be considered rude and standoffish – not exactly the impression you want to give a potential employer!

Statistics show that first impressions are determined 55% by the way you look and behave, 38% by the way you speak and your confidence, and only 7% by what you say. Take a few deep breaths before you walk in, stand up straight and smile, and you’ll be ready to make a great first impression.

Be Yourself.

One of the main things employers are looking to find out in an interview is whether you will fit into the already-established team. Having a catalogue of qualifications and tonnes of experience doesn’t necessarily mean that you will fit in with a company’s culture or get on well with your colleagues. The third most common interview mistake is attendees lacking humour, warmth or personality; nobody wants to work with a robot, or worse, someone who might rub others up the wrong way. Make sure you let your character shine through in your answers and don’t let nerves get the better of you. You want to come across as friendly and approachable, but don’t cross the line to inappropriate or unprofessional! And avoid using bad language, even if your interviewer does; you want to present the best possible version of yourself.

In the immortal words of Destiny’s Child: Question!

You should always have a few questions up your sleeve for the interviewer, and not just the usual “when would I start/how much is the salary/can I have two weeks off at Christmas?” (Which are best left until an offer has been made). The best questions will give you an insight into the company you’ll be working for, and show your potential employer that you are intelligent and interested. Research the company in advance and have a few questions prepared: “I read about your recent fundraising event on your company blog and would love to hear more about your policy on volunteering and charity work,” or “I saw on your website that you offer training opportunities, what are some other staff members currently doing and what opportunities would be open to me in this role?” Asking questions like this makes you appear interested and enthusiastic, and shows that you have looked into the business beyond what it said in the job advert.

Follow Up.

Within 48 hours of your interview, send an email or make a phone call to your interviewer for a quick follow up and ask for feedback on your interview. Even if you don’t end up getting the job, it could help you improve your chances in future by highlighting any areas of your CV or interview technique that you may need to work on. Good feedback can be a great confidence booster too, and following up shows that you not only care about the job but that you take pride in your performance. All positive signs for a potential employer!

And, there you have it! Follow our six steps to interview success and you’ll be decorating your new office in no time.

Do you have any tips for jobseekers and anyone looking to climb the career ladder? We’d love to hear your suggestions for impressing potential employers, leave us a comment or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: College Atlas

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