Walking into a job interview with little or no preparation is a bit like entering the Olympics without training – you’re gonna lose. All the other candidates who have done their research and have taken the time to prepare are going to beat you easily, even if they are not as qualified as you.
We’ve compiled a huge list of the very best job interview tips to help you understand what’s really required to get it right. Here are 8 job interview tips for success.
1. Research the job and the company
Understanding what the company does and who they serve is an absolute must. When faced with the common ‘do you know what we do?’ question from the interviewer, you better be prepared to knock em dead!
Find out what they do and who their customers are. Also swot up on the product or service and look into their recent marketing and advertising strategies. In addition, check out the company’s competitors so you can get a better understanding of what they are up against. This will help you offer any ideas or suggestions you may have.
2. Get ahead of any concerns
Before you enter the interview you should pick holes in your CV. Do you lack any of the skills, qualifications or experience expected? Do you have an employment gap? You need to get ahead of any concerns the employer may have so you can put a positive spin on anything which could go against you.
Remember, not every candidate will have the perfect CV and the employer knows it. They are just testing your reaction to see how well you handle pressure situations, and to also possibly clear any confusion. Don’t forget to demonstrate the transferable skills you have if your experience lies within another industry.
3. Create a USP
You need to walk into the interview with a unique selling point which will set you apart from the other candidates. Ticking most or all of the boxes could just be enough to get you a second interview, or even be under consideration for employment. But if you really want to rise above your competition you need to offer something nobody else does or can.
Study your CV in great depth and look for anything which you and only you can offer the business. It could be a specific qualification, achievement, skill or even experience. You need to offer the company something unique so you leave a positive lasting impression.
4. Prepare answers for common interview questions
Although there’s no way of knowing what questions you’ll be asked (unless you have a spy), you can still however prepare for common job interview questions. Even if you are only asked one of the questions you’ve prepared answers too, it’s certainly better than none.
One of the main benefits of preparing answers is that you practising without realising. The way in which you construct potential answers will help you to do the same during the actual interview. You will also find that some of the questions are similar to the ones you’ve rehearsed, and you can easily tweak your answers and improvise. This will help the conversation flow and you will find it easier to be confident.
5. Have your own questions
It’s important to show how passionate and serious you are about the role and the company, and a great way to demonstrate this is by asking your own questions. Prepare a list in advance and time your questions just right for great affect.
There are two approaches to asking questions in a job interview. The first is to ask them as you go along to stay involved, keep the conversation flowing, and to ensure you are interacting and showing commitment. The second is to ask them also at the end of the interview before it concludes.
You will typically be prompted to ask any questions of your own before you leave, so it’s important to have them at the ready. Take a pen and paper in the interview and have them written down in front of you. You can also take notes as you go along to again show how serious you are about the role.
For more help – Best questions to ask in an interview.
6. Practice with a friend
One of the most effective methods to improve interview techniques is to practice. Although you may have had lots of interviews in the past, it still isn’t enough time to consider yourself a pro. And for those of you that have hardly had any interviews or even none at all, then practising is essential.
Contact a friend that you can trust to take it seriously and prepare your questions in advance. Make them as tough as possible so you are prepared for anything, and try to guess what you believe the employer within your industry would ask. Conduct the mock interview a few times and try and mix both the questions and answers up a little. Don’t be afraid to try saying different things and then ask your friend for feedback after.
You need them to be honest with you and not hold back. If your friend thinks you could improve in certain areas but is afraid to tell you, then you won’t have gained a great deal. Only half of the exercise is complete, and honest and constructive feedback completes the practice. Consider creating an assessment form which you can give to your friend after. This will help prompt them for the right kind of feedback.
To help you know how to create a mock interview, here’s – How to practice for a job interview.
7. Be confident
If you are naturally a very confident person and you are not nervous during job interviews, then we salute you! Interview nerves are one of the most common reasons for rejection, and even the most seasoned veterans can succumb to nerves and blow the whole thing. So if you know that nerves will hit you then it’s important you go back to point number 6 and practice.
The more you practice and put yourself under pressure, the more you are going to be able to kick out those nerves during the interview. Whether you conduct a mock interview with your friend, a mirror or a video camera – put yourself to the test and do it again and again until it becomes second nature.
During the interview you can also further banish any nerves by acting confident. Walk into the interview with a big smile, make lots of eye contact, be friendly and polite, make a firm handshake and sit upright. Even though you might be shaking inside the interviewer will struggle to tell, and by acting confident you will become confident.
8. Study your CV
Before the interview you need to ensure you know every single aspect of your CV. Print off a few copies so you can read it on the train or bus ride to the interview and you can also give a copy to the interviewer if for any reason they don’t have one. With so many interviews to conduct it can be easy to misplace an application, and they will be very impressed if you have brought one with you.
The only thing the employer has to go on is your CV and they will likely have studied it for both the best parts and the worst. It’s unfortunately the flaws in your application that will likely be under scrutiny, so be prepared to defend your credentials and offer positive alternatives to any issues.
Not only do you need to know your CV backwards so you can defend any flaws, you need to memorise it so you can point towards your greatest achievements. When asked a difficult question or when looking to promote your credentials, you need to be able to refer to your work history or a specific achievement, qualification or skill. Not only that, but you need to expand on your CV and not just offer what they have already read.