On the job hunt: Interview Tips

In General

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If you are looking for a job in January or you are thinking about your career after University, read our interview tips to help you land your dream job.

1. Do your research in advance

Possibly one of the biggest blunders you could ever commit is to go into an interview without having a clue about the company and their values. Make sure you’ve done your homework and clue yourself up on things such as the latest product launches/advances in the company. Also have a look at the company values, if you can throw in a few of these in your conversation then that’ll show to the interviewer that your values align with theirs.

2. Review your application and CV

As well as researching the company, don’t forget to read through your application again. Read through your CV and think about what type of questions the interviewer may ask you.

3. Practice some answers

Take a look at this link for some common interview questions. Even though every interview is different, having a few sentences about your personal strengths and weakness and why you’re the best person for the job is always going to be helpful.

4. Dress to impress

Although some say this isn’t the case, you’re often judged by first impressions alone. Obviously we’re not saying dress up like it’s a black tie event, but just make sure your dressed appropriately. By that we mean, clothes fit correctly, everything nice and ironed, shoes polished and cleaned and no loud accessories. When in doubt, wear a suit.

5. Mind your language

And we’re not just talking about the profanities! You can usually get a good grasp of the level of formality of the interview once you enter so adjust your way of speaking accordingly. Try to avoid words such as “like” and slang in general. Enunciate and speak clearly…just don’t go all Downton Abbey.

6. Don’t be over-apologetic

Saying “sorry” repeatedly will indicate a lack of confidence and suggest you’re unsure of your own abilities. A lack of experience or an inability to answer a question straight away is not your fault!

7. Take your time

Don’t feel the need to rush into an answer after every question. Pace yourself and take the time to have a think and speak slowly. It’s easy to talk quickly and waffle on when you’re nervous so take deep breaths and structure your answer properly. Make your point, give an example and explain yourself from there.

8. Don’t criticize former employees/colleagues

You may be asked questions about your past experience or why you left your previous company. No matter how bad your experience was, try not to delve into this with a negative viewpoint. Interviewers may mark you down as a troublemaker and a gossip. Instead, try to put a positive spin on it.

9. Master your handshake

Again, first impressions count! Practice your handshake on friends and family and get them to critique it! A firm but not forceful handshake is what you’re aiming for.

10. The art of body language

Your body language can say a lot about your personality and your confidence. Shake off those nervous ticks! Maintain good eye-contact and sit up straight. Lean slightly forward and use hand gestures to emphasise and animate your points. Of course, don’t go flailing your limbs about, keep the hands at a sensible level above the table.

11. It’s ok to be nervous

Although it’s easier said than done, try to stay calm. Plan your journey well so you get there in good time and prepare everything you need the night before. Try not to let your nerves get the better of you! Conquer them! Stay calm, composed and speak clearly. And remember, smile! The Guardian have a great list on top 10 ways to beat the nerves.

12. Ask insightful and thought-provoking questions

Always have a few questions to ask your interviewer and try to have a minimum of five. Engaging with them shows your interest in the job and company.

13. Follow up

Always follow up with a thank you note re-iterating your interest in the position within 24 hours of your interview. You can also include any details you may have forgotten to mention during your interview.

14. For telephone interviews

 Get some privacy – Find somewhere quiet and away from any background

 Smile – no one can see you joker-like grin so smile away! Your smile will add

 Engage with the interviewer – it’s much harder to do this over the phone

15. Use your Union and University

We’ve recently launched SURecruit, our in-house recruitment agency, which has some great tips and tricks for finding part-time work on their Facebook page! Also, don’t forget the University have got their careers pages where you can go for longer term career planning and book one-to-one appointments.

And that’s all for now! There are plenty of other tips online, The Guardian website has a particularly helpful careers advice page.

Good luck!

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