Getting a job interview is only half the battle. Once you’ve worked out your strategy for applying for jobs, it’s time to get your interview skills down to an art. After all, looking good on paper probably isn’t going to get you the job on its own.
Follow these 5 simple steps to get your interview game on and smash that next interview.
1. Do your research
If you’ve gone through the process of applying for a job at a company, you’ll hopefully have already done some research on them to make sure they’re a good fit for you.
Some basic research will include looking at their website – particularly their ‘about’ page and company values. You can also peruse the company’s online presence by seeing what they post on blogs and social media. Finally, take a look at a few team members’ profiles on LinkedIn. This will give you an idea of the sort of people that work there, how long they tend to stay at the company, and if they’ve progressed in their role at all.
Before your interview, read over the job description thoroughly and go in with any questions you have at the ready. You should also make sure you’re 100% familiar with your own resume and LinkedIn profile, because you’ll probably get asked questions about it.
While you never know what an interviewer is going to ask until you get in there, there are ways you can prepare for their questions in advance. We have a handy list of behavioural based questions that often get used in interviews, which you can look over to prepare, plus some interview prep suggestions. Practise answering questions in front of the mirror, or get a friend or family member to quiz you.
3. Get some sleep
When you’re nervous about an upcoming interview, this can be easier said than done. However, being rested and fresh for your interview will allow you to think better and answer questions on the fly. It probably goes without saying, but don’t stay up all night watching Netflix or drinking with friends. Get an early night and eat well the night before, so you’re feeling good to go on interview day.
If you struggle to sleep when you’re nervous, try winding down with a bath, or using a meditation app like Calm to clear your head.
4. Scrub up
First impressions count, and interviews are one of the times this matters the most. Not sure whether to wear a tie or not? You can ask your interviewer for their thoughts on attire if you’re not too sure of what to wear. Although, it doesn’t hurt to whip out your best suit and tie even if it’s a more casual workplace. Always make sure your clothes are clean, ironed and looking their best for an interview.
5. Timing is everything
Don’t be late. That would be bad. Don’t be too early either – it could be awkward. Get to your interview about 10 minutes early, and of course be willing to politely wait until the interviewer is ready.
6. Be clear and upfront, but don’t go overboard
You need to be clear on what you want when in an interview. When your interviewer asks why you’re interested in the role, saying ‘because I need a job’ just won’t cut it. Be clear on what motivates you, why this particularly position resonates, and where you see yourself in 2–4 years. (In fact, you should probably add this step of clarifying your own goals to your ‘research’ stage before you’re put on the spot!)
Giving context to why you want the position and how you want your career to grow can help bring things together in your favour, so share your aspirations freely. In saying that, don’t overdo it. The interviewers don’t want to hear your life story. Sometimes less is more.
7. Follow up
Once your interview is out of the way – and you’re possibly cringing about things you said in it – you’ve got another handy chance to impress your interviewer. Follow up a day or two later with an email thanking them for their time. This shows that,
- You’re a really nice person
- You’re serious about the position
- You take initiative.
This simple gesture can open many doors, and keeps you top of mind while the interviewers are narrowing down candidates.
If you’re looking to land a great job and grow your career, it can help to work alongside a specialist recruitment agency. That’s where we can come in. We’ll chat with you about your needs and interests, connect you with unique opportunities, and guide you through the interview process. We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.