Before the interview:
When you receive an interview invitation, as well as expressing your thanks, try to make sure you receive as much information as possible to help you prepare.
Do your best to find out who and how many people will be interviewing you. Once you have this information, try and find out more about them and their role in the company. LinkedIn comes in very handy here, allowing you to get some background knowledge on your interviewer- if you haven’t already got an account be sure to make one! Often just knowing what they look like beforehand can help to ease the nerves the day of the actual interview.
There are various types of interviews: skills based, technical based and portfolio based just to name a few. You will most likely be informed of your interview type and in most cases, it will be a skills/competency based interview, but be sure to ask so that you can prepare accordingly. Technical interviews can be difficult to prepare for, but not impossible so be sure to find out! It might be beneficial to you to find out how long the interview will last too.
How you will be assessed is clearly important, the interview may take place in person at their office, it could be via a telephone or video call, or it could even be a part of an assessment center. Each is different and will need to be approached in a slightly different manner so it is important to be aware. With video calls for example, it is important to find a clear and quiet space that will be free from disturbances, it’s a good idea to do a test run with your webcam and microphone to ensure that everything is working well and remember that you still need to dress formally, even if it is only your top half!
You may need to travel, you may need to book your transport in advance, you may need to apply for your travel costs to be reimbursed, plan ahead to save yourself the stress!
Glassdoor is a great tool for finding out the potential questions you could be asked, the type of interview and the various stages if the company is reluctant to share such information with you. It isn’t always correct, and it doesn’t have information on EVERY single firm but it has been handy for me in the past. It’s also helpful to hear other people’s experiences to give you an idea on what to expect.
As I’m sure you already know, researching the firm and the role is essential aswell! Find out as much as you can about the role, the interviewer and the firm.
During the interview:
The answers you give are only half of the interview, your body language, eye contact and personality are also massive contributors in finding out who you are and how well you will fit into the firm.
I would like to assume that you would have practised answering questions before hand (I’ll leave a list of example questions below). Be sure to speak at a steady pace in a clear strong voice. The STAR Technique is the easiest way to ensure that the answers you give are sufficient so make use of it!
Drink water. Your mouth will get dry! Even if it doesn’t, taking a sipping of water is a good way to buy yourself some thinking time if you get stuck on a question, aswell as repeating the question back to the interviewer while you think about it- but don’t overdo it!
Be yourself- your professional self. Show some personality, you want them to like you, not just your words. Remember that an interview is a conversation, so try to keep things flowing well. They’ll be looking for someone that shows confidence, and the easiest way to express this is to be yourself!
ASK QUESTIONS!!! Especially questions other than ‘when will I hear back?’. I like to ask the interviewers about themselves, how they enjoy their role, their background, how long they have worked for the company- virtually anything about them that is linked to the company that can not only give me some more insight into the work culture, but help me start a conversation to relieve the pressure from myself- people love talking about themselves and telling their stories so let them!
After the interview:
A common misconception is that the interview ends once you leave the office. It hasn’t really ended until you hear back from the company so be sure to leave a good impression.
Send a thank-you note in the form of a letter or email; be sure to thank them for their time, the opportunity and express how excited you are about the role. You want to be remembered so start by building a relationship!
Keep up to date with the company and their affairs, it’s good to know what’s going on in your potential work place, following the company on social media such as LinkedIn is an easy and professional way to do this.
Interviews aren’t easy, but you can definitely make them a lot easier to deal with. I hope these last four posts have been useful to those of you on the job hunt, feel free to leave any questions or extra tips in the comments section. Good luck to you all!