Have you ever felt incredibly stressed about attending a job interview? If so, you’re not alone, most of us get a few butterflies at the prospect of an interview.

Because a job interview is not something we typically encounter very often it is very important to fully prepare for it, so here we have some tips and advice to help you interview well and land that dream job:

Appearance

First impressions count and the golden rule is you should be aspiring to dress one notch above what you would normally consider suitable for work. And that of course means the job that you’re interviewing for. The safest option for men and women is a suit or smart trousers/skirt, shirt/blouse jacket and sensible shoes.

First impressions

Some studies suggest that many interviewers make up their mind within the first 5 minutes of the interview and the rest of the interview is spent looking to confirm this view, so try and make a big first impression within the first few minutes. Arrive at the interview with plenty of energy and enthusiasm and start off with a positive comment like ‘I’ve been really looking forward to this interview as l l feel l could make a positive impact to this business.’

Body language

Even if your responses to questions are flawless in the interview, the wrong body language can send the wrong signal and sour how you’re perceived. Here are a few tips:

  • Handshake: Aim for a firm handshake, and as you shake, make eye contact and smile.
  • Posture and Sitting Style: No slumping, keep your back straight, lean forward slightly to indicate interest. Do not recline back into the chair fully.
  • Avoid crossing your arms or placing items in your lap; these habits indicate defensiveness, nerves, and a need for self-protection when what you’d ideally   convey during an interview is confidence.
  • Don’t fidget: If you have any habits like messing with your hair or nail biting leave them alone in the interview.
  • Eye contact: It’s important to keep good eye contact, especially when you are asking or answering a question.

Bring a copy of your CV to the interview

In case the interviewer has mislaid theirs, always take a copy of your CV to the interview as you may be asked to quote qualifications, employment dates, history etc. It also shows you are well prepared. If you have any written references always take these along with you too and offer copies to the interviewer.

Research the industry and company

It goes without saying it is so important to have a good understanding of the company, its industry and markets it operates in as interviewers will undoubtly ask you what you know about the company. Today it is so much easier than years ago to find out information on a business due to the Internet and the more accurate information you can provide in your answer the better. Try not to surmise or blag your way through, just let them know what you know from their website and social media platforms.

Prepare for common interview questions

Think about what questions you may be asked, given your qualifications, experience, positions previously held and any other information that was included in your application that you think may be explored from a positive or negative view point.

Be prepared to run through a presentation of your skillset and previous experience, hobbies and interests for the common question that is: ‘Please tell us about yourself and what you can offer our business’.

Questions for the interviewer

Arrive at the interview with some intelligent questions for the interviewer about the role, the business, progression etc. Never answer ‘No’ if the interviewer asks if you have any questions.

Unique Selling Point

Make sure you let the interviewer know what you can bring to the business by giving them an example of what you have achieved in previous employment or some characteristics that have benefitted voluntary groups, friends and family that illustrates key characteristics they may be looking for i.e. organisation, people management etc.

Closing the interview

Make sure you leave a positive impact by your closing comments. Always thank the interviewer/s for giving you the opportunity and time to meet with them, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them and reiterate why you think they should appoint you. Shake their hands firmly, keep eye contact and let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.