Butterflies in your stomach? Palms feeling sweaty? Concern clogging up your brain? You must have an interview coming up.
It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive before stepping into a new building to pitch yourself to a new person (or group). But interviews don’t have to be the nightmare scenario that so many make them out to be. All you need to do to increase your chances is have the right strategy ready.
In this blog, we share 20 tips to help you nail the interview process.
1. Practise non-verbal communication
Interviews can be as much about what you don’t say. In the lead-up to the big day, practise your non-verbal cues – maintaining eye contact and smiling at the appropriate points. It shows you’re listening and engaged, which employers always want to see.
2. Research the company
The more you know about the business beforehand, the better. It’ll help you tailor your responses in an effective way, and also impress the people sitting opposite.
3. Have a mini bio prepared
In the days ahead of your meeting, practise a 20-30 second riff so you can tell your interviewer everything they need to know about you in a tight timeframe.
4. Plan to arrive early
If your interview is at 10am, plan to arrive at 9.30am. It’s much better to be hanging around and mentally preparing than running into the room 10 minutes late looking like you’ve just run the London Marathon.
5. Dress for the part
Use your common sense when choosing your interview clothes. If the business is corporate, opt for suits and formal clothing. If they’re an agency, go smart-casual.
6. Take it easy on the caffeine
You’ll be nervous enough as it is, and strong coffee can cause the jitters. Ration out your caffeine intake in the preceding hours to your interview and sip water instead.
7. Switch your phone to silent
Some people say you should switch your phone off altogether, but we wouldn’t necessarily recommend that. After all, you might want to show off what you can do on a mobile, or quickly point out a website or piece of work online. However, we do advise making sure your mobile isn’t on loud.
8. Be optimistic
A positive attitude is palpable. People can sense it a mile away. Heading into an interview with a strong, healthy mindset can make all the difference.
9. Embrace your adrenaline
Nerves are good. Believe it or not, but when the adrenaline is flowing, you’ll be on top form. Let your heart pump away and your brain will do the rest.
10. Offer a strong handshake
A classic piece of advice that’s still as useful today as it was 100 years ago. Strong, firm handshakes convey confidence and fervour: two traits that are appealing in any field.
11. Slow your speech
It’s natural to speak quickly when you first enter an interview room, but if you do catch yourself chattering away, make the effort to dial it back. It will help you to give careful, considered responses.
12. Explain your reasons for applying
Most employers will ask this template question in the initial application, so you’ll need an answer ready that can get heads nodding in agreement. You can return to this rationale at various points in the interview too – tying in your strengths and stories with the reason for applying.
13. Bring your portfolio… and be ready to talk about it
You might have sent your potential employer a digital version of your portfolio – but it never hurts to bring a hard copy. Not only will it function as a great reference point if you get stuck, but it will also help you to illustrate some of your answers.
14. Take a breath before each answer
It sounds like a small thing, but pausing for a second or two before replying to a question can help you construct a much more insightful and relevant answer.
15. Tell the truth
Some employers will slip in trick questions to see how honest you are. If you attempt to put forward some fake knowledge, you’re busted. Always tell the truth, even if you’re not sure of the answer.
16. Use real stories
Personal learning curves and great experiences always make for more powerful stories than inspirational accounts you might have read on LinkedIn. It’s your interview. Tell your own tales.
17. Ask questions about the company
Believe it or not, employers like talking about their companies – so they’ll always be eager to answer your questions. Prepare some beforehand and try to gauge what kind of working culture is in force.
18. Don’t look desperate
Enthusiasm: yes. Desperation: a big no. You want to show the interviewer how much you want the role, but don’t let it slip over into begging territory. “I really, really want this job, please” won’t come across too well.
19. Follow-up with a thank you
Unless you were physically removed from the interview room, there’s never any reason not to send a thank you follow-up, even if you think it went badly. Not many candidates do this – and it will help convey your integrity and hunger for the position.
20. Ask for feedback
Whatever happens, this is going to be an experience. Every interview is a learning curve if you receive feedback, helping you improve your approach moving forwards.
Want more top interview tips? Speak to ON:iT
We’ve heard every interview story you could imagine here at ON:iT Recruitment: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Our experience renders us the best possible support team when it comes to interview advice, so give us a call today on 0161 416 6000 or drop us a line using our online contact form.