Getting a job is never easy and interviews can be scary and nerve wrecking. I have had a lot of interviews over the past few years. Some good, some bad. I have been offered employment with almost all of them even if I have declined which hopefully means I am not bad at the interview process. With that in mind I thought I would partake a few words of wisdom to help anyone that might be looking for some guidance.
I am not going to go into details about how to write a CV. There are good and bad ones. I am not an expert by any means but mine has served me well. Keep it updated, clean, neat, readable and truthful. Aside from that seek help from a recruitment agency or job adviser if you really need guidance. So I am presuming that you have emailed your CV to hundreds of jobs and bingo you are offered an interview. So what next?
Who is the company? Who might be interviewing you? (They might tell you when you are invited) How long will it take to get there, is there a bus/train/walk? Forearmed is forewarned. Arm yourself with as much about the job as you can you will look like you are really interested in the business even if its just a job to get you by and not a career move.
Write a list of questions that they might ask you and what your answer might be. Do not script it too much though. I was getting to the point of going to so many interviews that even I was bored of myself answering the questions as I was just repeating myself all the time like on autopilot. Google what particular questions a certain job might ask you as every job has its own set of skills. Write a list of questions you want to ask them. They will ask you. Do not be that person who sits there mute trying to make up something on the spot. They might ask you about salary expectations. Asking them can seem forward but you need to know if you can pay the rent/mortgage etc but phrase it so that it doesn’t seem like the most important thing. Something along the lines of “My salary at my current job is X amount. Would this company be in the position to match that?” That is just an example. They should answer. Don’t ask about sick pay or holiday entitlement. Both are usually a certain thing and holiday is pretty general across the board in total days.
Even if you know the company are casual in their work attire do not dress like that for the interview. Always always dress smart. I tend to have a couple of outfits that I turn too in my hour of need. Dark trousers, blouse/fitted top and cardigan or blazer is a pretty standard look. If you feel overdressed when you get there you can remove the blazer/jacket. I also have a black pinafore dress which I layer up with a top and black tights and shoes. Both have been lucky outfits. Clean hair, minimal make up and no smelly food are common sense tips too.
Any job interview is nerve wracking however informal it might be. Be yourself and that is all that can be asked of you. Smile and shake the hand of the interviewer whilst looking them in the eye upon entering. Put your hand bag on the floor, you do not want to be fidgeting with it on your lap. Accept an offer of water but decline biscuits or hot drinks – you won’t get to drink it and eating is never a good look. Look at who is talking to you – eye contact is so important. Looking down or at the ceiling looks shifty and you will look untrustworthy. Explain things slowly and clearly and be succinct.
It is over!
The interview is over and you can leave. Thank them for seeing you and that you hope to hear from them soon. Shake their hand again and leave with a smile. Congratulate yourself for being fabulous by getting a coffee and then forget about it. I read a great quote recently (which is more in regards to auditions but bears the same weight here). “Remember if you’re there somebody already rates you, thinks you have talent”. They invited you as they think you will be an asset to their company so go into that interview with that mind set.
So go forth and conquer my friends and good luck!
Photo © thebalance.com
Quote from The Actor and the Camera by Denis Lawson