Loads of people are terrified of interviews but chances are most of us will have to go through them if we want to get a job we love. In fact, interviews are not that scary once you know what they are all about.
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How to Ace an Interview in Eight Steps:
- Don't Panic!
- Do Your Research
- Dress to Impress
- Arrive Early
- Give a Good Handshake
- Get your Body Language Right
- Ask Questions
- Follow Up
The first thing you need to remember is that the employer likes you. They read your CV and cover letter and was interested them, this is why they called you in. They are willing you to do well so, as long as you didn’t lie, you have nothing to be scared of.
That’s another important point, don’t lie on your CV or cover letter because they will pick up on it in an interview!
Do your Research:
How you prepare for an interview is often more important than the interview itself. You should make sure you understand the company, its ethos and what it is aiming to do. You could find out whether they are working on any big projects that you may be able to reference in the interview. Also, research the job you are applying for, make yourself familiar with the skills they ask for and the tasks you will have to fulfill as you may be asked questions specific to the job role.
Dress to Impress:
Always dress smartly and in keeping with the type of company you are interviewing with. If the job is in a bar or restaurant or even a start-up, turning up in a suit may make you look out of place and old fashioned. However, not wearing a suit to interview with a more traditional company will make you come across as sloppy and as if you do not care about the job. There are some universal rules though: don’t wear anything creased, if you wear a shirt make sure it is ironed; girls don’t wear anything too revealing like short shirts or plunging tops, it doesn’t look professional and could be potentially awkward; don’t wear shoes you can’t walk in and never wear anything ripped, stained or with holes in.
If you live in London and don't have a smart outfit or can't afford one, Smart Works provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to out-of-work women on low incomes.
Always aim to arrive about 20 minutes early. This ensures that you will not be late, even if you get a bit lost on the way.
Give a Good Handshake:
This may sound silly but it is really important to give a good first impression and a good handshake can do this. Make sure you have a firm grip, there is nothing worse than a limp handshake! Also make sure you smile at the interviewer and look them in the eyes. This just appears confident and will put you at ease.
Get your Body Language Right:
Your body language can really impact on how an employer perceives you. By making eye contact, smiling, avoiding touching your face and not crossing your arms or slouching, you will come across as open, trustworthy and friendly. You will help to put the interviewer at ease and this will help to make the whole process more pleasant.
At the end of most interviews, the employer will ask if you have any questions about the role. Having some up your sleeve will show them that you are well prepared and that you are genuinely interested in the job. It is a good idea to think of four of five questions before you go in, you may come up with more during the interview.
Sending a follow up email a couple of days after the interview will show an employer how interested and conscientious you are. If they have whittled it down to you and one other person, taking the time to let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them may just tip the scales in your favour.
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