This is it - the CV has got you the interview, so how do you approach this? You're bound to be nervous, but a little preparation will not only make you feel better, it'll help you make more of the opportunity. The reason you have an interview is that the employer thinks you can do the job - follow these simple hints and you should be set up to deliver.
Find out about the company - the website is the obvious place to start. Maybe get hold of some literature; discover who their competition is. The chance may not arise, but if it does you can really demonstrate a great level of interest in the company.
First impressions last:
It's stating the obvious, but look smart and professional. Lean towards traditional rather than a trendy look. Don't forget that copy of the CV either. There's nothing worse than being late, so give yourself extra time and plan that journey. When meeting the manager(s), look them in the eyes, smile and shake hands firmly.
This interview is where you expand on the main points of the CV. Emphasise your skills and experience that suit the job you're going for. Avoid negative or tentative phrases - 'I think I could...' and so on. Be enthusiastic about your jobs - try not to interrupt, but if you're seen to be lively and enjoy talking about your experiences this will help build a positive picture. Before the interview, try and think of any likely questions and work through the answers. You'll be surprised at what a bit of effort in this area can achieve. Lastly, don't bluff your way through - if you don't know the answer, ask for clarification. If you still don't know then say so. Honesty is always the best policy.
- Think about these often-asked interview questions - what's your answer?
- How would you describe yourself?
- How would your friends/manager describe you?
- Give me an example of how you've coped under pressure?
- What are your strengths & weaknesses? Everyone has weaknesses so mention just one - then turn it around to demonstrate that you're aware of it and work hard to overcome it.
The way you handle yourself at interview may undo all the good work to date. Sit comfortably with a good upright posture - don't sit with your arms crossed, lean forward or tap your feet. All these things do not look good.
You're interviewing them too!
You'll undoubtedly get the chance to ask the interviewer(s) a question or two. Get these straight in your head beforehand. Here's a few examples:
- What are the training opportunities?
- What exactly would my responsibilities be?
- How long until a final decision will be made about the job?
Finally, Close with confidence:
Aim to leave them with a good memory of you. Thank them for their time, tell them that you enjoyed discussing the role and hope to hear back soon.