How to nail the interview

1 Plan your journey and be on time

With applications such as Google Street View, getting lost looking for a building is a thing of the past. Instead of wasting time and effort, find out in advance where the location is and arrive on time. An email to the CEO’s PA to ask about any directions or security may also help you to engage in advance. Be as polite with the person on the front desk as you intend to be with the CEO. First impressions count, and you can never be sure who is assessing your attitude and behaviour. 

2 Presentation is key

Dressing smartly still helps to create the right first impression, as does ensuring you make eye contact and shake hands firmly. It won’t guarantee you the job, but it may give you an edge over other candidates with similar skillsets.

3 Take the drink

Although we often pass the offer up, accept that glass of water, mug of tea or cup of coffee. It can act as a prop, helping you steady your nerves and giving you time to think of an appropriate answer to any tough questions at the interview.

4 Do your research

Know your CV inside out and where you have done well in other jobs. It’s astonishing how many people forget an element of their CV or are unable to say where they have excelled.

Research the company you are interviewing for and its market. Check out its LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram pages to get a better insight into the business, awards, ethos and news. What really impresses interviewers is personal effort to find out more about them.

5 Grab a notepad and pen

Bring along a notepad to make notes 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, but it is also lets you review your notes later. This can be particularly useful if you receive more than one offer as something you have written down may subsequently help to inform your decision.

6 Engage and ask questions

While an interview is mainly employer-led, you should also use it as an opportunity to get some answers. Probe into areas you believe are important for your long-term goals, such as the state of the industry, career development opportunities and the organisation’s projected growth. This approach shows your ambition and interest – and that career development is important to you. But remember: it’s not all about you, and it’s vital that you show interest in them.

7 Don’t diss previous jobs

When asked why you are looking to move, avoid negative remarks about your current or ex-employer, even if they did make your life a living hell. It’s a complete no-no. You need to show your ability to take responsibility, not your negativity. Be positive and give the impression that you enjoyed your role but are looking for a new opportunity.

8 Avoid sick pay and holidays

At the end of the interview, don’t be tempted to ask about sick pay or holiday entitlement. This is probably a first interview, so leave those questions for the offer and negotiation stage. It is far better to let them know you understand there will be busy periods when all hands are needed on deck.

9 Don’t rush off

Before saying goodbye, establish what the interviewer’s thoughts are. Also try to get a timeline on how the process will progress. It’s important to gauge how things went so you have some idea of your performance. Ask if there is anything else they need from you. Finally, shake hands and thank your interviewer for their time.

10 Take the initiative

Before you leave, ask if they have a brand ambassador you could talk to. When you get home, drop the interviewer an email to thank them for their time. It shows a prospective employer that you are courteous and professional. 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?

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