Okay – your CV has done its job, and you’ve been granted an interview. This gives you a chance to really impress the person who’ll be the one who decides whether or not you are right to fill that important role.
Don’t forget that the interview is a two-way process – you will learn just as much about your prospective new employers as they will about you. Just because a job looked good on paper it does not mean the job will remain attractive once you find out a little more about how your prospective new employer operates.
Make sure you know as much about the company as possible before the date of your interview, including about their industry in general.
Preparation, preparation, preparation
Read through your CV again and make sure you are fully abreast of all it contains. This is, of course, the document that your interviewee will be using for their source material. If you become confused over something that you wrote, this will cause alarm bells to sound.
Visit your interview location before the day of the event. This way you will know about any potential logistic issues such as transport and access. If you can, visit the actual building. You can always say you are a customer. It does not matter if the department whom will be conducting your interview learn of your visit – they will just take this as sign that your commitment to detail.
The interview itself
The majority of interviews these days are competency based. You will ask about a competency that is required for the role, and then you will asked to give an example of how you have demonstrated this is the past. Obviously, at times, this can put you ‘on the spot’, but you need to remain aware that your interviewer is not trying to catch you out and will give you a little time to come up with examples.
You can prepare by identifying your core strengths and the strongest competencies required for your role. These are the two most likely areas that you will be asked to supply examples of competencies for. Think of examples in these areas, and you will arrive at your interview pre-armed.
Personality is key
Despite all your skills, experiences and competencies, the most important part of your interview will be how you present yourself.
Be friendly and smile a lot. Maintain natural levels of eye contact. Listen attentively and nod in the right places. Do not crack endless jokes. Take a moment to think before you answer a question – don’t just blurt out the first thing that comes into your head.
At the end of the interview you’ll have chance to ask questions. Keep them pertinent and don’t ask things for the sake of asking things.
Dress smartly yet sombrely – dark blues and dark greys are always a good choice. You can add a little bit of colour with an accessory or a tie, but leave the cartoon characters and comic socks at home.
Above all, relax and enjoy the experience. Even if you don’t get the role, you’ll have gathered a little bit of valuable experience.