First appearances count: Always dress and look your best. Immaculate shoes, a clean shave or a freshly pressed suit are easy ways to pick up extra points. Maintain eye contact as much as possible and avoid the obvious pitfalls of slouching, folded arms or hands in pockets.
Research: Learning about the company you are interviewing with is essential, but your research doesn’t have to end here… Who are the company’s main competitors? What are the industry trends? How might this company improve its current product or service offering? Are there any opportunities for revenue growth?
Your level of knowledge will play a large role in determining how much value you can add to a given company (exactly what the interviewer is trying to assess!).
Prepare for difficult or common questions:
– Why should I hire you?
– Why haven’t you found a job yet?
– How many jobs have you applied for? Why didn’t you apply for more?
– Why did you leave your previous employment?
– What did you dislike about your old job?
– There is a gap between these two employment entries, what did you do in this period?
– How can you add value to our company?
– Aside from financial reward, what do you hope to gain from this employment?
– How would you describe our brand to a person that had never heard of us?
– What attracts you to this job?
– What are your weaknesses?
– Tell us about a role you performed badly in.
– What are your strengths?
– What is your biggest achievement?
– Describe yourself in three words.
– How would your friends describe you?
– What do you get up to in your spare time?
– Where do you see yourself in five years?
– Where do you see yourself at the height of your career?
Know your CV: Employers will often use your CV as a loose structure for the interview, so be ready to speak extensively about every point you made on it. Be ready to talk about any unexplained gaps in your career history (a common line of question), any specific achievements, and the circumstances surrounding each of your previous jobs.
Interviews don’t have to be one-way: Have at least three well-researched questions ready for the employer. The quality of the question will demonstrate interest, level of knowledge and encourage the interviewer to interact with you on a less formal level.
Take your time: Pause and think before answering difficult questions. Ask politely for the interviewer to repeat a question if necessary.
Be aware of current affairs: A good way of finding some common ground.
– Begin your preparation well in advance (24 hours before if possible).
– Get a good nights sleep.
– Leave yourself a few hours before to go over your interview checklist.
– Get to the interview early.
– Avoid caffeinated drinks.