My top five tips for success at interview

It is your interview day. You have passed the application stage of the interview process and now is your chance to impress the employer face to face. Your palms are sweaty, you are fidgeting around, feeling slightly jittery at what is to come! But do not fear! Everyone experiences pre interview nerves and I implore you, do not under any circumstances let this jeopardize your chances. To try and reduce your interview nerves beforehand here are my top five tips for interviews that will not only help with those pesky nerves but will make you ace your interview and land you your dream job!

1. Preparation is key

Swotting up before your interview is absolutely essential. I can’t stress to you enough how important this is. Knowing your stuff gives off an air of confidence and also highlights to the interviewer that you are interested in working for them. They will appreciate, as well as expect, you to have taken the time to look into who the company is, what they do, and what their core visions and values are. Preparing all of this beforehand will emphasize your eagerness and enthusiasm for the job to the interviewer, which can only be a positive.

Researching typical interview questions is also something you should prepare, as it adds another piece to your arsenal, as questions such as “where do you see yourself in five years?” and “what are your weaknesses?” are likely to arise. The key here is balance. You don’t want to come across as robotic in your answers. Try not to over prepare these and be as natural as you can with your responses. No one wants to hire a robot!

2. Dress to impress

First impressions are not just important, they are key! Research suggests that the average person forms their opinion of you within 7 seconds. Sounds harsh but unfortunately, the research backs it up. Alongside the handshakes and introductions, one of the first things people notice is what you are wearing!

Most employers expect you to be smartly dressed and looking professional, but this is not always the case as with some companies, especially start ups, who usually prefer casual wear. Being aware of this prior to interview would certainly be beneficial so that you don’t stand out like a sore thumb or are remembered for the wrong reasons. Even if the dress code is more relaxed, picking out any old outfit from your wardrobe is not the answer here.

As much as looking the part is definitely a must, do make sure that what you are wearing is comfortable! Twitching due to an annoying label in your sleeve would not bode well in an interview. You want to focus on the actual questions rather than worrying about that price tag currently scratching against your neck! Pick out your outfit the night before and make sure it’s ironed and ready to go. There is no need to add additional stress to yourself, especially on the interview day!

3. Arrive on time and relax!

Arriving on time (and yes that means early) and finding ways to relax beforehand is vital to bringing your best version of you to the interview. The last thing you want to be is late to your interview as it will only reflect badly and potentially ruin your chances of getting hired.

Arriving fifteen minutes early to allow yourself to time to sit back with a glass of water or cup of coffee and fully take in your workplace surroundings, as well as have the time to compose yourself, is what I would recommend. If you don’t know where the building is, go the day before so you don’t have the panic of trying to search for it on the day.

Finding ways to flatten your pre interview nerves beforehand is something I would advise. Listening to relaxing music on your way to the interview or talking to a family member or friend are always things that have helped me. Ultimately, you want to be as relaxed as you can be and ready to smash your interview and land that dream job!

4. Be yourself

No matter what anyone says, job interviews are scary and you’re allowed to be nervous. A lot can be going on inside your head both before and during an interview. You can be worrying about all sorts of things, like not wearing the right thing or that you won’t fit in. Amongst all the doubts in your mind, as cliched as it sounds, staying true to yourself and being honest is essential in an interview.

The company wants the right person for the job, and you want the right company fit. If you find yourself in a position where you are told you are not the right person, please don’t let it get you down. Changing yourself to suit the interviewer and company is never a good idea, as soon enough your real personality will shine through anyway, and this would be noticed and may not always be a positive thing.

Being yourself actually means that you come across far more natural, and ultimately you are not being false. There is no point wasting your time or the interviewer’s time. Whatever is meant to be is meant to be, and all you can do is your best and be yourself. When you find the right role, they will realize how lucky they are to have you and vice versa!

5. Ask questions

At the end of every interview, your interviewer will usually ask you whether you “have any questions?” Shuffling your feet and looking down at the floor while mumbling “no“, is not what they want to see or hear.

Asking about the company and job once again highlights your enthusiasm and also gives you a final chance to leave your interviewer feeling impressed. Think about what is important to you about working for this company, whether that be your career progression or the socialness of the office. Also, do some research and maybe ask about specifics from what you’ve seen and read. Some advice here would be to have a few questions lined up, so as to avoid both the awkward “no” or repeating anything that ends up being discussed during the interview! There is no need to look like you have not been paying attention!   

Questions will also help you find out the pros and cons of the company. Remember, the interviewer and company are selling themselves to you as much as you are selling yourself to them!

To bring this blog to a close, we all know that interviews are a necessary evil. They make us feel a mix of nervous and excited. Both you and the interviewer are trying to get the measure of each other and see how well you’d fit in the company and equally if the company is right for you. We all hope that every interview goes well, but don’t get disheartened if it doesn’t. As I said what is meant to be is meant to be!

All we can do is ensure that we prepare in the best way possible and give ourselves the best chance at progressing. There are hundreds of tips for interviews and thousands of blogs have been written on each of the points. In my experience, these are the five tips which have proved most valuable to me, and I hope that you find them equally useful and help you get ready to smash your next interview.

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