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There isn’t any exact science when it comes down to interviewing, but you can stack the percentages in your favour by following these simple tips:
Now, I don’t mean Mickey Mouse Ties (yes, I’ve had one of these) and bright red and green socks. I mean a clean, tidy business suit, plain shirt/blouse and a matching tie – follow this simple rule a little bird once told me; 1 plain and 2 stripes or 1 stripe and 2 plain. The trick here is to look smart, neat and tidy – don’t be the one who stands out for all the wrong reasons!
Make sure you prepare well. It’s no surprise that the candidates who prepare the most thoroughly get the best jobs, it’s a fact and it’s something that there can be no excuse for. The internet has been around long enough to ensure that there is information about the company and sector you’re working in, so instead of watching the TV get busy reading and researching. Here are our favourite preparation tips:
Have plenty of questions written down for the inevitable “Do you have any questions?” section at the end of the interview. It will happen and you know it will so make sure you’re ready for it. This bit is straightforward and you can easily generate the questions from your preparation time. For example, ask about company culture or the routes of progression; basically, anything that’s important to you.
Don’t forget – interviews are a two-way thing. Asking questions you want to know the answer to is the perfect way to get to know the employer and the interviewer! Make sure that you have enough company information so that you feel comfortable, confident and excited going forward.
Use the STAR method for delivering your answers to questions you’re asked: Now many of you will have heard of this and it’s a common thing. The beauty of this is it allows you to elaborate in context and it opens the door for further questions about the topic you have chosen to respond with. It’s a clear, structured and concise method and the best way of minimising the number of questions that you just “don’t know”. Here’s a recap:
Situation: The position I was in
Task: What I was asked to do while in that situation
Action: What I did after I was asked to do what I was doing in the situation
Result: What was the end product of the action?
For example, if you are asked a question about teamwork:
Situation: The position I was in was part of a team in my current job.
Task: My team was asked to develop a marketing strategy for a new product launch.
Action: I worked with my team to come up with ideas, delegate tasks and create an action plan.
Result: We successfully launched the product on time and delivered better-than-expected results.
This structure will help you ensure your answers remain focused, relevant and clear.
DO NOT BE LATE FOR ANY REASON IN THE WORLD (WITH THE EXCEPTION OF NUCLEAR DISASTERS). If you’re going to be late then it would probably be best to rearrange the whole thing! A minute here and there isn’t going to kill you or the interviewer, but it may be the difference between two equally matched candidates and it’s just not worth the risk. To avoid being late, you should:
Follow these five tips and you’ll be well on your way to success. For more candidate tips, check out our Candidate Corner where you can learn more about what employers are looking for and how to ace that all-important interview. Good luck!