Interview tips: How to ace your big day
Thursday 31 January 2013
Our top 10 tips to help you be the best you can be.
Preparation is key
Double-check the finer details, from the date and time of the interview to themeans of transport. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy meal beforehand and make sure you set off in plenty of time.
Review your application
Take with you the interview invitation letter and a copy of your CV, cover letter and application form if you used one. You don’t want to look surprised to hear of any achievements you may have listed on your CV or get the dates of any jobs wrong.
First impressions count
Personal grooming is essential. Wear a suit or equivalent business attire and ensure it is clean and ironed. Don’t wear too much aftershave or perfume. Pay attention to your posture and handshake, which can help you score valuable points.
Unique selling point
Think about how you can distinguish yourself from other candidates who may have similar abilities, employment and academic experience to you. Use the job description as a guideline so you have an idea of what questions they may ask.
Know your strengths...
Employers want to know what qualities you have that will benefit the organisation. Think of projects you have worked on and how you have contributed. Describe the challenge, how you tackled it and provide evidence.
...and your weaknesses
“Tell me about your weaknesses” can be a loaded question. Your answer could be the death knell to your chances of getting the job. Identifying your areas for improvement must be coupled with showing how you will overcome them.
Know what you’re facing
Prepare for interview questions by researching profiles of similar jobs; reading the organisation’s website and annual report; searching for relevant media coverage; and knowing what developments are likely to affect the organisation.
Think before you speak
Honesty isn’t always the best policy. Admitting that you want a job because you need the money isn’t a good idea. If asked “where do you see yourself in five years’ time”, focus on the experience you want to have gained.
Never underestimate the personality factor
Showing how you are easy to work with or manage, and speaking enthusiastically about the role and company can give the interviewer reasons to like you. Never speak badly of a previous employer.
If it does start to go wrong
If you realise that you’ve been waffling on and have forgotten the original question, ask for the opportunity to gather your thoughts. Most interviewers can empathise with interview nerves, and its better to stop for a moment and take a deep breath than continue on heedlessly.
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