If you have recently graduated or it’s been a while since your last job search, you might feel daunted at the prospect of being interviewed. With so much time spent communicating via video call during the Covid-19 pandemic you could be forgiven for falling behind on your face to face communication skills, so here are some top tips to improve your job interview performance and hopefully help you to land that important role.
How to prepare for a job interview
What you do before your interview can be very influential on the day so it is definitely worth following some simple strategies beforehand to help improve your interview performance. Let’s look at some of the key tricks that can make you feel more confident, calm and collected:
- Find out where your interview will be held and make sure you know how to get there. Traditionally it was quite commonplace to do a ‘recce’ beforehand and drive to the place of the interview just to make sure you went the right way on the day. With today’s advanced technology there is less need for this as Google Maps and Google Earth, plus route planners and sat navs can show you the way and even let you stand virtually outside the door!
- Decide how you will get there – once you have found the location and scoped out the route you will probably choose to either drive or get public transport. If you’ll be driving make sure you also check the maps for local parking or find out the train, bus or coach times if you need to arrive by public transport. If you’re not sure about any of it, contact your interviewer beforehand as they should be happy to share information on parking availability or transport links, or they might have these details available on their website.
- Double check the date and time of your interview – it sounds like a simple step, but you would be surprised at the number of people who had turned up a day early for an interview or missed it altogether as they had diarised the wrong date.
- Make sure you know what you need to bring along – will you have to present anything, show a portfolio or take any tests? Your interviewer should send you some information on what to expect but if you haven’t had anything it is a good idea to ask so you can arrive prepared.
- Do your research on the company. Look at their website, search online for information about their history and check out their latest news and social media channels.
- Write down any questions you’d like to ask. Whilst you can be expected to be the one doing most of the answering, interviewers are generally impressed by candidates who come prepared with their own questions as it demonstrates a real interest in the company and role.
- Get a good night’s sleep ahead of your interview and set your alarm a little earlier than you absolutely need to, so that you don’t feel rushed and stressed before you arrive.
- Dress appropriately for the interview.
How to behave at an interview
It takes only a few seconds for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time, so in an interview scenario you need to make these seconds count. Here are a few tips to help you create a good first impression and present the best version of yourself to potential employers:
- Shake hands with your interviewers using a firm handshake, whilst smiling and making eye contact.
- Be yourself. Whilst you will need to adopt a pretty formal approach to most interview situations, it is also a good idea to not pretend to be someone you are not. Interviewers want to know what you are capable of, but equally they want to know who you are as a person, so let your personality shine and be yourself as this will make you feel more confident.
- Use positive body language such as sitting up straight, smiling and making eye contact. You can also try a little Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) by discreetly copying the other person’s body language – such as folding and unfolding your arms – to help you build rapport.
- Pay attention to what you are being asked and listen to questions in full to give you the best possible chance of answering everything.
- Be courteous and polite and try to avoid being negative about any previous employers or roles.
- Support your answers by giving examples to show the interviewer that you are capable of doing the job.
How to close a job interview
It will usually be obvious to you when the interview is drawing to a close and this signifies your opportunity to ask any questions that haven’t cropped up during the course of the interview. This is your chance to demonstrate your interest, enthusiasm and preparedness. Don’t be afraid to refer to a piece of paper or your digital device if you have questions written down, as your mind might go blank due to interview nerves.
If you feel the interview has gone well and that you would be a good fit for the role, say so. It doesn’t hurt to show your enthusiasm. Also now is a good time to ask about what happens next, such as when you can expect to hear something, whether there will be another interview and when they are hoping the role will start.
Don’t forget to thank the interviewer/s for their time and consideration.
How recruitment consultants can help you
Working with a recruitment consultant is a popular choice, particularly for those looking for positions within specialist industries. By working with a recruitment agency, you get a lot of the hard work done for you. Their recruitment experts can sift through the opportunities out there to find the right ones for you, meaning you only have to attend interviews for roles that are well suited to your qualifications and experience. They can also share their expertise on the latest industry news and trends, helping you to be better prepared for your job interview as well as offering general guidance on interview techniques.
On-Site Group LTD is a recruitment agency specialising in placing candidates in mechanical and electrical, construction, FM and industrial roles. For more information on their services please visit www.theonsitegroup.co.uk.