Interview do’s and don’t’s
Different companies have different expectations so ask the recruiter or hiring manager about the dress code and prepare an outfit that is a touch smarter! Make sure you prepare your outfit the evening before so there is no rush on the day. Pick items of clothes in your wardrobe that make you feel comfortable and confident. It’s important to keep your own style but make a bit more effort – this can be anything from polishing your shoes to adding a stylish accessory. If you’re bringing a laptop or tablet for a presentation then bring a decent bag to carry it in. Overall, first impressions count and your attire will play a substantial role.
Don’t be late!
Plan your route in advance, check for live travel updates and give yourself at least 15 minutes longer – you’re better off having time to sit in a nearby café than rushing and being stressed about making it on time. Being late for an interview will stick in the interviewer’s mind even if the rest of the meeting goes really well. If you’re totally stuck and realise you’re going to be late then get in touch with the recruiter or hiring manager to let them know – this will give some reassurance that you’re keeping them updated and they know how long you’ll be. And when you do arrive, acknowledge it, apologise and explain why.
Do your research!
Being well-versed in an interview is vital so ‘more is more’ when it comes to researching the company and the people you’ll meet at the interview. Familiarise yourself with the company through their website and social media, read any news about them and get a feel for their values. Look up the people you’ll be meeting to give yourself more awareness of who they are, their role and seniority in the company.
Ask the recruiter or hiring manager about what to expect from the interview as they may have interesting insights into the format of the interview, the style of the interviewer or just some good tips! Read the job description several times and for each day-to-day responsibility prepare examples of your own skills and experience that match it. Think about relevant anecdotes that would show your strength in an area of the role as this will give an added dimension and give the interviewer a stronger impression of you. Prepare answers for common interview questions such as describing a difficult situation you’ve overcome or what your strengths and weaknesses are. You may not be asked but it’s always good to have it up your sleeve!
If you’re waiting at reception then take a few deep breaths and calm your mind. Be aware of keeping a straight posture which will give off a subtle confidence. A smile speaks a thousand words! It’s also a great way to mask interview jitters and to come across less nervous than you are!
Avoid negative comments
Don’t speak negatively about current or previous employers; it doesn’t reflect well on you (however justified you feel about it) and tends to worry a prospective employer. Choose to talk about how previous roles made you feel rather than targeting the company or an individual. There are more diplomatic ways to show your reasons for moving on such as not reaching your full potential or looking for new challenges.
If you swiftly moved on from a company that you didn’t love and would like to justify the short stint on your CV then a good way to communicate it would be to say ‘the work environment didn’t suit my personality’ – this will imply something wasn’t right and show that you’re professional enough not to get personal or go into detail. Of course it’s not about hiding anything, rather using appropriate interview language.