Finding a new job or changing jobs is difficult but there are some simple things you need to know which can make the whole experience a lot easier and smoother. When you find the job which suits you and you have been successful in your application you still need to face the most daunting task – the interview.
The idea of an interview can be a scary prospect for most (if not all!) people looking for a job. Your nerves can get the better of you as you feel the pressure to show your best possible side to potential employers. There is a way, however, to minimise nerves and ensure you give an interview that will showcase your skills effectively. One word: Preparation.
Think of an interview like studying for an exam. The more preparation you do, the better you will perform. Revise your career history thoroughly. Think about your achievements and the measurable contributions you have made at your previous jobs. You will be asked about this and a confident and concise answer will impress however make sure your answers don’t sound too “canned” or insincere.
You should also research the company you are interviewing with. The internet is a great source of information. Start with the company’s website, and also do a search for any articles relating to that company or the industry they are in. If the company has been in the news recently it may be advantageous to be fully across those stories as they will be the most likely to come up.
First impressions are key in an interview. This means arriving ahead of time – give yourself plenty of time to get there. Turning up late is an instant black mark against your name. The way you present yourself is also very important. Whereas in the past a suit and tie were standard interview attire, there is more flexibility today. However you should still present as neat and clean and, if in doubt, err on the side of (conservative!) caution. It is always best to try to dress the way you believe your interviewer will be dressed so, on the assumption you have a feel for the industry and the company you have applied to join, make the best match you can.
Have a list of questions prepared and try to anticipate some of the questions you think you might be asked. Again the internet is a great source for this and many sites exist with lists of difficult questions and suggested answers. It is important to have a suitable answer for anything specific to you – a short time at a particular job or a long period of unemployment for example.
Ultimately, you don’t need any tricks or tips. You just need to prepare thoroughly and be yourself. The employer is just looking for a qualified candidate to fill the job and if you put in the effort beforehand then that candidate might just be you!