We all know an upcoming interview can be a mixed range of emotions, the anticipation, anxiety, and barrage of thoughts can be a bit much. As an intern, I know the stress of a big interview can be extremely overwhelming (especially the night before). What do I wear, how do I present myself etc, are always common questions and thoughts. So I asked a number of experienced recruitment consultants at Admiral and this is what they said!
1. Plan the journey and be on time!
A classic but still a common mistake for many! With applications such as Google Street View, the days of getting lost looking for the building are a thing of the past. Do not spend 30/40 minutes looking for the building! Do your research, know the location and arrive on time. If you are meeting the CEO of the business be as polite with the person on the front desk as you intend to be with the CEO. If you’re not, I guarantee the CEO will find out.
2. Presentation is key
Get out the best suit and tie combo as dress to impress still helps in creating the right first impression, as does ensuring you make eye contact and shake hands firmly. Whilst of course, this would never amount to the be all end of any interview but if you make a good impression with the Interviewer and you have a similar skillsset to other candidates it may prove beneficial.
3. Take the Drink
Although we often pass the offer up, accept the water, tea or coffee because a drink can be a useful tool in an interview. It can help as a prop for steadying your thoughts ahead of answering any tough questions.
4. Do Your Research
Know your CV inside out; additionally know where you have done well in previous roles. One consultant went on to say ‘’As someone who has interviewed candidates for a range of positions in various sectors over the last 10 years, it's outstanding that many people still forget an element of their CV or do not know where they achieved their best results’’.
Research the company you are interviewing for, also research the market and industries that the company work within. This could include looking and knowing the office locations, how many employees the company has, and any news or insights in the industries.
5. Grab a Note Pad and Pen
Take notes – take a small notepad to the interview and ensure you have a working pen that won't run out. Not only does this show the interviewer you are keen to take on board information, it is a great opportunity for you to ta notes and then review outside of the interview situation. This can be especially useful if you receive a couple of offers and something you may have wrote down helps you make a decision.
6. Engage and ask questions
Engage – whilst an interview is of course mainly Client led, you should also have confidence in using the meeting as an opportunity to receive answers on some of the questions you might have on the organisation. Probe into areas that you believe are important for your long-term goals, e.g the state of industry, career development and is the business growing?
This approach is seen as important by the client as it shows you are thinking of more than just a job and career development is important to you.
7. Avoid negative remarks on prior jobs
When asked why are you looking? Avoid negative remarks about your current or ex-employer even if they did make your life a living hell. You are better than that. And equally, no prospective employer is going to take things forward with you for fear that there may be reprisals if you leave them one day. Instead, be positive ‘you were grateful for the opportunity you were given but you are looking for a new opportunity for reasons that only you will know.
8. Avoid Sick and Holiday Questions
Upon concluding the interview – never ask about Sick Pay and Holiday entitlement. This is a first interview, take your time. That is what offer stage and negotiations are for.
9. Establish the next step before saying goodbye
Don't rush off once done, try and establish there and then what the interviewer's thoughts are. Try and get a timeline on how the process will move forward. It's important to gauge how things went, whether that be a positive or negative outcome as soon as possible. Finally, shake hands, thank your interviewer for their time and head off.
10. Take the initiative
When you get home drop the interviewer an email thanking them for taking the time to meet you. This courteous approach shows your prospective new employer that you have gone away and been excited by what you had heard. Even if you don’t get the job this time, who knows what other opportunities that person or company may have for you in the future!
(Extra tip) Don't be hungover (a bit of humour always helps)