With unemployment at a high, it’s tough out there in the job market. These days, employers are playing it cautious when it comes to advertising for jobs, and when they do decide to advertise, they’re looking for the cream of the crop in terms of potential employees, so it’s vital you’ve done your homework.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a checklist of things you should do if you want to succeed at interview. Read on to discover what tips we think will stand you in good stead…
1. Know Your CV (Curriculum Vitae or Resume)
It might sound obvious, but for many people it isn’t. So your CV and cover letter has gotten you a job interview – great. But do you know your CV like the back of your hand?
If not, you should. It’s often the first thing employers ask you about in interviews. For instance, ‘Oh I see you worked at XXX – so what did that entail?’ It sounds like an easy question to answer but if it was a work placement that was a few years ago you’ll need to make sure you can remember what your role involved. ‘Um’s’ and ‘er’s’ don’t generally make for a convincing answer.
2. Do Your Research
Turning up to an interview unprepared is basically telling your potential employer you couldn’t care less about the job or the company. Don’t make it this easy for them – do your research. And it’s not that difficult to find out important bits of information that will make your interviewer sit up and take note. Find out the names of the Chief Executive, and the boss of the department you’ll be working for if you get the job, and see what you can find out. If the company’s made the news in the past few months, or if they’ve received an award – use this knowledge to your advantage. Throwing in choice information in your responses can really help sway the interviewer and they’ll be impressed you’ve made the effort to find out about the company.
As well as doing your research before you get there, make the most of your time when you’re waiting for your interview to start. Instead of picking up a copy of that glossy magazine, opt for the document next to it – the company report. Ok, so it might not be as juicy as a story on Kate Middleton, but you’ll look much more professional flicking through this than a cheap magazine. Plus, you can never tell who notices these things: while you might think the receptionist is merely there to welcome you and offer you a drink, she could also be in on the recruitment process too, so make sure you’re polite to everyone you come into contact with.
3. Dress Appropriately
Deciding what to wear to a job interview can be a tricky task. If you’re going for a job in media then you might look a bit uptight turning up in a suit and tie. On the other hand if you turn up in a pair of neatly pressed jeans and you’re going for a job where you’ll be promoting current accounts and other financial services, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be looked on favourably.
Again, make use of the internet to help you decide. Take a look on the company’s website and see if you can find an image gallery of the offices. Use this to check out what people are wearing. If there’s nothing online try asking a reliable friend who works in the same sector. If you’re still unsure, err on the side of caution. If you dress too smartly it’s easier to dress down while you’re waiting – by removing your blazer and tie. If you dress on the more casual side, however, it will be infinitely more difficult to make yourself look smarter.
4. Know Yourself
An interview is your chance to shine – and your potential employer’s chance to see what you’re made of. So make sure you know your strengths and weaknesses and are able to talk about them positively. If you’re a strong candidate but feel you could do with brushing up on one particular area, don’t bluff your way through it. People value honesty, so if you think you would need help with a small part of the job, say so – but make it positive and show that you’re keen to learn. This means if you do get the job you won’t be floundering around helplessly because you’ve told them you’re a genius at everything.
5. Never Lie
Don’t make up your references, don’t lie about your education, just be truthful. Liars are always found out in the end, and if you’re honest from the start you won’t have to spend any time worrying that you’ll be found out. Be yourself, never someone else and believe in your abilities.
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