Top 5 Interview Tips

Job interviews can be a nerve wracking occasion, with a host of considerations to be made and a multitude of potential questions that could be asked. Your potential for getting a job may well ride on how successfully your interview goes and so it’s important to present yourself well and approach the event confidently and professionally.

It can be difficult to manage nerves and the anxiety that an interview can induce can suddenly make the strongest candidate forget their name, let alone their skills and experiences. To help you look your best and perform to an impressive standard, the following five tips should send you well on your way to securing your dream job.

1. Knowledge is Power – Research and Review

To impress the person or panel who are interviewing you, you must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the job role, your employer and the market. Those who are recruiting for a business will be keen to ensure that their potential new employee understands the market, the business’ position within it and what role they will play in their job.

Let your interviewer know that you understand the past performance of the business, the future targets and what their reputation is, either on a local level or national scale. Committing to research prior to an interview demonstrates a sincere interest in the job and you will heighten your own confidence if you know your stuff. What’s more, you’ll be better prepared to predict the questions that you might be asked if you have a sound understanding of the business and future plans.

Don’t be afraid to point out that you acknowledge there may be market vulnerabilities or that a competitor has an edge, if that’s what your research shows you. It may well be that your job is to improve the strength of your employer or that you are being hired by way of improving the business and tackling the competition. Be sure to address vulnerabilities with positivity – demonstrate that you understand the future plans of your employer and how enthusiastic you are to be a part of them.

2. Practice!

Just like revising for an exam or sitting a mock test paper, candidates who practice interview answers and skills are those who are more likely to be successful. Talk to you partner, family or friends about the role that you are applying for and brainstorm some likely questions and practice your answers. One of the best ways to do this is to print off a copy of the job description and highlight any important skills or responsibilities.

Make a list of what skills you have and the experiences you have that demonstrate them. Try to compile a list of experiences that are predominantly work based, but add some personal experiences too if necessary. The interviewer will want to see that you can confidently ‘prove’ your abilities by offering a range of scenarios that you have been in, where you have used the required skills or stepped up to the key responsibilities successfully.

Rehearse answers to some general interview questions with someone else to ensure that you can offer a coherent and focused response with ease. Some common interview questions include:

  • What skills do you have that will benefit our company?
  • Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
  • What is that attracts you to this position?
  • In your opinion, which three words describe you best?

3. Don’t Put on an Act – Be Yourself

It can be all too easy to put on an act to impress at an interview but this is one of the worst moves you can make. Interviewers will be able to detect when a candidate isn’t acting naturally and as soon as they think you’re not being yourself, alarm bells will ring and they’ll struggle to trust anything you say.

Instead, be yourself and don’t let your nerves, pride or bravado interrupt that. In fact, an interview is likely to warm to you more quickly if you confess to feeling slightly nervous and perhaps counter it by explaining that you are keen to impress. Interviewers are human and they will appreciate your honesty, encourage you to feel at ease and usually recognise that you’re nerves are a byproduct of your enthusiasm.

Try to practice your body language before you go to an interview. With all of the preparations, you might find that you become physically awkward or rigid. Instead, once you’re in the interview room, take a moment to ensure that you are comfortable and presenting yourself well. Try to maintain a good posture, keep your body language open (don’t fold your arms across your body, minimise the number of times you touch your face etc.) and smile. Let your interviewer see the type of colleague that you’d want – a pleasant, confident and engaged character.

4. Be Confident

It might be easier said than done, but try to act as confidently as possible, even if you’re a nervous wreck behind the scenes. You need to show your interviewer that you are capable and can manage your emotions. One of the best ways to do this is to be confident.

An interviewer would rather have a candidate ask for a moment to consider their answer and for them to deliver a coherent and assertive response than listen to a nervous, fast-paced answer that misses the point.

To be confident, prepare and take your tie. Take deep breaths if your nerves are getting the better of you and remember that you’re in control of your own presentation. To show confidence (even if you’re not feeling it), make eye contact with the interview, offer a firm handshake, smile and ask questions. Dress professionally but comfortably – don’t priorities the aesthetics of a high heel if you won’t be able to walk, for example.

5. Complete the Imperatives

There are a number of small actions that are absolutely necessary to ensure that you don’t disappoint the interviewer. Follow this list for every interview and you’ll be sure to be off to a professional, confident and impressive start:

  • Be on time. Arrive at the interview around 10 minutes ahead of schedule (not too early as that’ll be a nuisance).
  • Dress smartly
  • Listen closely. When an interviewer asks you a question, try to recognise if there is an underlying reason for it.
  • Answer the question asked – don’t deviate from the question.
  • Ask questions too as this will show an interest in the company.