There are few things in life more terrifying than a job interview.
Just when you need to be at your best, nerves and anxiety can reduce you to a gibbering wreck.
And we all know that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
But by following a few simple tips you can put yourself in a much better position to impress – allowing you to relax and shine in front of your would-be employer.
Here’s the HR Solutions Shropshire checklist to help you ace that all-important interview.
Bring your CV
Although some interviewers will bring a copy with them, having your own to hand out on request will show you’re prepared (and provide them with the information they need if they forgot to bring one). Not only is it helpful for the recruiter, but having your CV nearby is a useful prop if your mind goes blank.
- Notebook and pens
Bringing your own notebook and pen is a great way to show an employer that you’ve thought ahead.
After all, there are a variety of things that might need to be noted throughout your interview – whether it’s important names, phone numbers, or even key details about the role.
Taking a note will demonstrate that not only are you invested in the job (and you’re paying attention) but that you’re also going to refer back to it when the interview’s over. A sure sign of professionalism.
- Examples of your work
Fact: Employers love candidates who can prove their skills with real examples.
And what’s the best way to do that? Aside from backing up your abilities on your CV, you can also bring examples of your work into an interview.
Possible examples could include anything from your university dissertation, essays, or any other form of written prose (whether it’s a blog post, article, or story), to design, fashion, or architecture portfolios.
If your work is more hands on, photographs of successful projects could help.
If you’re looking to break into an industry with little work experience, providing examples of how you’ve gained the required skills and abilities outside of work can be a great way to stand out.
Every interviewer will give you the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an interview.
The worst thing you can do is say nothing. So in case you draw a blank when the time comes, it’s vital to prepare a few in advance.
Sure, you might come up with a few throughout the interview (cue: pen and notepad), but relying on that alone is risky – especially if your interviewer is particularly thorough.
Asking questions also shows you care enough about the role to prepare. Go in with nothing, and you’re likely to end your interview on an awkward silence…
We all make mistakes. Even at interviews.
But before you start letting your nerves get the better of you, the good news is that most interview nightmares are easy to avoid. It all comes down to preparation.
Don’t be late
It sounds obvious – but you’d be surprised just how many interviewees don’t turn up on time.
Lateness isn’t just rude, it also makes you look like you aren’t taking the opportunity seriously. After all, if you’re not professional enough to arrive on time for an interview, how can an employer guarantee you’ll be any different if they actually decide to offer you the position?
Although being over prepared can be a concern for some, in reality it’s far better to have a few key notes written down than coming into the interview with nothing at all.
The same applies when it comes to interview questions. Practicing a few answers beforehand will ensure you won’t be caught off-guard. Even if it’s just going through with them family and friends.
At the very least, you’ll avoid awkward pauses ‘when the what type of animal are you’ question comes up
Don’t forget body language
Finally, never underestimate the power of eye-contact.
Aside from showing your enthusiasm and attention is fully on the conversation, you’ll also ensure that your interviewer knows you aren’t intimidated by the situation.
Other body language points to consider include handshake (think firm and friendly, rather than dead fish) and smiling. And yes, it really does help.
Potential body language fails to avoid at interviews include fidgeting, slouching and chewing gum.
Oh. And most interviewers don’t like it when you cry.
So, if you’ve got a job interview coming up and want help to prepare, just get in touch. Together, we can make it an opportunity rather than a nightmare.