Prepping for an Interview

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Firstly, well done on securing an interview!

This is your chance to shine and make a good impression on a future employer! This guide is filled with helpful tips and important Do’s and Don’ts to will help you prepare.

The success of an interview is determined by how well you prepare. You will want to plan your appearance, the questions you will ask, how you will get there and background information on the organisation. Remember, preparation is key!

Before your interview

The easy part…

Firstly, you will want to plan your appearance, ensuring you will be dressed appropriately. Unless told otherwise by the interviewer, you should always opt for smart business dress. Some interviewers, depending on the role may ask you to wear safety boots, hi-vis etc. and in this case, you will have to mix it up a bit!

Establishing the location of the interview and doing a practice run a few days prior is the next important step. It will not only help ensure you arrive on time but can also help relieve some nerves on the day. Interviews are nerve-wracking as it is, you don’t want to add any more stress to the situation! In addition, why not consider completing the practice run at the time you would have to leave for work. This way you can get a feel for the journey and if it is right for you. Is the traffic a nightmare that way in the morning? Will you be willing to do that journey every day?

The difficult part…

Interviewers love to ask what you know about their company and why you are interested in working with them. Doing your research will make answering these questions a lot easier! You will want to research their history, other offices, products, competitors and anything else you deem relevant to the role.

Prepare any additional materials such as presentations ahead of time. Our Recruitment Specialists here at Allstaff will be able to provide you with honest constructive feedback on your presentation and advise you on the key information their Clients will be looking for. So be sure to send your presentations to them early so you have time to make any amendments. Make sure you practise your presentation a number of times so that you do not simply read the presentation out. The organisation want to see your presentation skills alongside the content of the presentation you have written and prepared. Take along a few printed versions of the presentation with a note section at the bottom of each page, just in case there are any technical issues on the day.

Interviewers will ask you lots of questions but will want you to ask them some too. Make sure to prepare some questions to ask them.

Here are some questions you could potentially ask the interviewer:
  • What are the growth plans of the company?
  • Who are the company’s competitors (you can use the research you have done already to help with your answer and show you have done your research)
  • How have others progressed within the organisation?
  • Where does the position fit into the overall organisation?
  • Who are the key people I would be working with?
  • What will I be doing for the highest percentage of the time?
  • What is the most rewarding aspect of this job?
Some questions the interviewer may ask you:
  • What are your good points/how would your boss describe you? (Strengths)?
  • What are your weaknesses? Explain how you overcome them.
  • Why do you think you are suitable for this position?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why did you leave your last job?
  • Why does this vacancy interest you?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What aspects of your last job did you enjoy?
  • What are your long-term career goals?

At the Interview…

Remember the expression “You never get a second chance at a first impression” and the fact that you will be on show the minute you enter the car park!

Make sure that when you meet the interviewer you shake hands firmly, smile and stand tall. Don’t sit down until the interviewer asks you to. Then make sure you sit up straight in your chair. Don’t lounge back no matter how informal the interview may be! Most importantly, don’t assume that your interviewer has recently read your CV. They may have been interviewing several people that day, try to use expressions such as “as you can see from my CV… I have been …”.

If asked to talk through your experience/CV – make the overview brief and highlight your experience that is relevant to the role you are applying for. It’s okay if you do not understand a question or it is not specific enough, just be sure to ask them to re-phrase or be more specific.

Do’s and Don’ts

Always:
  • Make sure your attire is appropriate for the interview

    Clean and pressed business attire (no cardigans and nothing too revealing), polished shoes (no flip flops), conservative jewellery, clean, tidy hair and subtle makeup

  • Turn your mobile phone off!
  • Be a good listener – you may miss something very important that they are trying to explain to you.
  • Always illustrate interest in the company, even if this particular role is not suitable as another position may become available to you.
  • Use the interviewer’s name! Although interviews are relatively formal, using first names can put people at ease.
  • Observe the interviewer’s reactions. Body language is a great way of knowing how well or badly you are doing and can allow you to raise your game if needs be.
  • Answer questions directly, avoid long pauses and be precise, don’t waffle and ensure you are answering the question
  • Describe your accomplishments in quantitative terms

    Use %, £ or time saved wherever possible.

  • Display confidence in your past achievements. You are selling your most valuable product – ‘YOU’.
  • Ask questions that reflect preparation and logical thinking

    What will you expect of the person you hire?

    What results are you expecting the person to produce?

  • Be honest when answering questions about current salary and benefits

    Do not try and be clever or appear greedy when discussing the required salary. Remember part of our role is to negotiate salary/package on your behalf!

    The client may also be interviewing a number of suitably skilled candidates who may illustrate more commitment to their company by offering more flexibility in terms of salary. If in doubt, explain that you are negotiable in terms of salary for the correct position, or that salary is something that you want to give more thought to and then leave the rest to us.

  • End negatives with a positive. Avoid questions where the answer to whether or not you have specific experience, is a single no.

    Instead, always be honest and admit that you do not have the experience but end the sentence on a positive note. e.g. “No, but I am sure that I can learn it quickly”

  • At the end of the interview shake the interviewer’s hand, thank them for their time and confirm your interest in the role. You can also ask when you will get a decision.
Never:
  • Do not smoke before you go in!
  • Be aggressive or arrogant

    You can put people off in an instant, even though you did not mean to seem that way

  • Answer questions with just yes or no

    Always explain your answers fully, it shows you are a good communicator and are interested.

  • Argue, lose your cool or show nervousness

    Confrontation or inability to maintain control will not reflect well on you.

  • Criticise past or present employers

    It shows a lack of respect and could draw you into a conversation that you did not want to have.

  • Highlight weaknesses

    It will encourage the interviewer to explore this further

  • Attempt to read documents on the interviewer’s desk

      People are very territorial and protective of their belongings and this could be seen as a challenge to their territory.

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