Building a CV is a vital lesson children are taught during their education. It’s the beginnings of teaching children the importance of how we present ourselves, our skills, and experiences. For many jobs, the CV and job application is just the start of the journey to employability. Possibly it isn’t till we get our first job interview that we begin to feel unprepared. What is it that we need to know and demonstrate?
Speaking to our recruitment department as well as management, we’ve compiled a list of our top 10 tips and tricks for interviews:
Research the company and the job role.
This is a vital part of job interviews for you, the interviewee. You need to make sure you are applying for a job role suitable for you and your skillset/experience. Make sure you research what is expected of this job role and what duties you are expected to perform. Additionally, research the company you are applying too. Have a look at what they’ve achieved and what they as a company have set out to do. Impress your interviewer by showing you’ve taken the initiative to show interest in what the company does. There is nothing worse than being asked what you already know about the company and having nothing to say!
A bonus tip is to re-read the job description. Look for the vocabulary they use to advertise the job role and company. If you include a few of the terms they use in your interview you’re already showing your ability to adapt to the company and align yourself with their language.
Show up in professional attire.
We all know that this is a golden rule of interviews. We’re reminding you because how you present yourself in an interview is important. If you want to be regarded as a professional, make sure you are reflecting that in your interview outfit. Make sure your shirt is ironed and the fun socks you got as a Christmas present are left at home this time. The saying is dress for the job you want for a reason.
Take a second before you answer any questions.
You may feel like you have to have the perfect answer ready to go in seconds. You don’t. Only true wordsmiths have the perfect answer in mind a second after being asked. You won’t be penalised for taking time to gather your thoughts and assess what is being asked of you. Taking a few seconds before you respond will help you give a concise and clear response. It allows you to identify the information you want to be included. Don’t rush because you feel like you have to have information immediately ready. This may lead you to repeat yourself or miss out a key part of the question being asked.
Have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.
This is a question we can almost guarantee you’ll be asked at the end of your interview. It helps to have some questions ready to go. We’d recommend having them written down in the wording you’d like to ask them. Reading them off a piece of paper shows you’ve come prepared and have taken this time to think about the job role/company. Showing interest is vital! We’ve thought of some questions that might be worth asking if you’re stuck. These are just a few simple questions that we’re happy for you to borrow or adapt, have them on us…
- If successful, when is the likely start date for the job?
- Can you give me a breakdown of the expected daily duties within the role?
- Does the company offer internal opportunities for job progression?
- Where does the company want to be in 5 years?
Reiterate the question in your answer to show you’ve understood what is being asked.
If you’re asked a question, feel free to repeat the question being asked in the introduction to your response. This shows the interviewer that you’re trying to answer the exact question they’ve asked you. If you give an answer and are unsure whether you’ve hit all the points they’re looking for, ask them if they’d like you to expand on any aspects of your response. Interviews are conversational, they don’t have to solely follow the question – answer format. Don’t be worried to have to ask if you need to clarify any further!
Be personable- it’s ok to be nervous!
Every interviewer is expecting you to be a little nervous, so don’t worry if you are. Nerves can be a positive thing, they’re showing you that you’re invested in the interview and the outcome. We’re all human and we all get nervous. Don’t worry if your knees are a little shaky or your hands are a little sweaty. Do though try and show your personality in the interview, let the interviewer know who you are. Try and maintain eye contact and have open body language. Try not to cross your arms across your chest and sit up straight. One way we can show engagement is through our body language so make sure you’re not closing yourself off or seeming disinterested.
Early is the new on-time
Similarly to dressing in professional attire, being on time is another timeless tip for a good job interview. Traffic jams and train delays seem inevitable on days where you really need to be on time. Try and give yourself more than enough time to get to your interview. If you’re extremely early, sit and have a coffee in a local coffee shop. Take the time to try and calm your nerves and centre your thoughts. We advise getting to the building where the interview is taking place at least 10 minutes early. This gives you time to take in the environment, get out any relevant paperwork, and it just looks like you are eager to get the job.
If you are late to your interview it unfortunately may give the impression that tardiness may be on the cards if you get the job. If something major arises on your journey to the interview, your car breaks down or the train is delayed between stops, give the interviewer a call and let them know. They’d rather be informed than left waiting.
Know your CV
You may feel encouraged to add sophisticated and complex language into your CV but make sure you understand what your CV is saying. If you’ve described yourself as tenacious be prepared for the possibility of being asked to give an example of a time where you were tenacious. If you’re unsure of what a word means, however fancy it looks, don’t use it. In interviews you are letting a potential employer know why you are the right person for the job. So make sure you make your experience applicable to the job role. Know your strengths and the information you’ve included in your CV and let your interviewers know why they’re relevant to the job role.
Turn up prepared- we know you’ve probably described yourself as organised in your application, so show them you are.
Make sure you turn up to your interview with your CV printed out, a notebook, and a pen. Extra points if you have the job role printed and your questions for the end of the interview pre-written. These are a few things that show you’ve come to the interview prepared and are as detail orientated as I’m sure you said in your CV. You may want to make notes throughout the interview. Perhaps write down a few key words from the questions asked for reference to ensure you answer the question in full. You may not use the pen and may not need your CV in paper form, but as they say, it’s better to be over-prepared than under.
Practice your handshake.
If you’re someone that doesn’t want to do a whole mock interview with a friend or relative, that’s ok, it can be daunting. Maybe just practice your handshake. If you’re coming straight from college or university you may not have had many occasions where you’ve needed to shake someone’s hand. Practicing your handshake will make the process more natural to you. Whoever you’re practicing with will be sure to tell you if your grip is too tight.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!
These are our tips and tricks for you for any interviews you may have coming up. If you’re a parent reading this and have younger children we have a few ways to begin teaching your toddler business skills because we believe in catering to the whole family!
- Following a routine- even if it’s just a sleep routine. By instilling routines into your children lives from a young age you are helping prepare them for the working world where routines are commonplace.
- Instilling work place values: honesty, consideration and determination are just a few values that would be transferrable and useful to have in the workplace.
- Praise your child’s effort, not just intelligence or talent. In the work place we are surrounded by other people who have different talents than us, different experiences in educations and different expertise. By praising the effort your child puts in to a task you are teaching them to put effort at the forefront of everything they do which is a valuable practice in the workplace.
- Tell them stories. By telling them stories and encouraging children to tell you stories you are helping to develop your child’s communication skills. Practice makes perfect, so practicing communication will only benefit your child in the long run.
Having tools available interviewees is vital to creating an equal ground towards candidates where they are able to be assessed on their experience and strengths. If all interviewees practiced good interview and employability techniques it will remove the chance of not being offered the job because you didn’t seem genuinely interested in the role or turned up late.
If you are looking to put these tips and tricks to the test and are applying for jobs, check out our careers page!