Well done, you've got yourself an interview! Now that you're this far, let's make sure the next stage goes to plan too.
When you're preparing for your interview, try to remember the following handy hints and tips to make sure you get through to the next stage
Dress the part
Don’t give your interviewer any reason to be distracted by anything other than how great you'd be for the role. It goes without saying, look smart - you're trying to make a good impression, and certainly in a working environment, smart is the look to go for. Just look professional and like you'd fit into the company.
Just because you haven't been working for the past five years at a highly recognised company doesn't mean you don't have great work experience to sell yourself on. Remember that work experience placement or internship you did for two weeks, or your part-time job over the summer? They're great examples of you working hard and gaining experience of the working world! Don't forget about any activities you did at school - these show off your skills too!
Know your stuff
This one can't be stressed enough! Whatever the company, read up on them - find out what the company does, their size, the services it offers, the target market, and their culture. You want to go into your interview with as much knowledge as possible. Don't only show off about what you've done, show off about what you know too.
You'll now need to make sure everything else about the interview is prepared too
Make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes early
This shows you're well organised and punctual - definitely what a potential employer wants to see. When planning when to leave home, don’t forget to factor in delays – it’s always better to be early and wait, than be late. Remember, if you are running late and it was unavoidable, do give them a call to let them know, and make sure you apologise!
Leave your phone in the car, or in your bag if you haven't driven
As soon as you're at the interview location you need to be in interview mode. This means no quick glances at your phone before you go in, no distractions or temptations. If it’s in your bag, make sure it’s on silent or switched off, not just on vibrate.
Bring along any appropriate documents
This means a copy of your CV and covering letter, and any examples of work experience you’ve mentioned in them. Don’t forget any proof of ID if required too!
Making the most of your strengths and weaknesses
“So, tell me, what are your strengths and weaknesses?”
It can be a difficult one if you’re not prepared in an interview. It can seem intimidating – you could either not big yourself up enough because it can be embarrassing, or you could over do it.
Let’s start with the strengths
It’s time to blow your own horn, and you’ve got to be specific about it! Make a list of your strengths that go into each of these three categories:
Whatever your list includes, make sure you find a way to link it to the job – your relevant training for the role, your great communication skills, and your punctual and hardworking attitude. These are all strengths that employers look for. Remember, in your interview, you’ll want to cover all three categories to ensure your potential employer gets to see a rounded view of you.
When you’re talking about your strengths, don’t feel shy, be proud of having such great strengths!
Unfortunately, there are two parts to the strengths and weaknesses question
We’ve addressed your strengths, but what about your weaknesses? You don't want to highlight these too much, but of course, you still need to answer the question. Everyone has weaknesses, whether we want to admit to it or not, but we usually wouldn’t want to talk about them in an interview.
There are ways around overemphasising your flaws such as counteracting it with a strength. For example:
"Being organised wasn't always my strongest trait, but I found ways to manage my time and therefore my organizational skills."
"I like to make sure that my work is perfect, so I tend to spend a little too much time checking through it. However, I've come to a good balance by setting up a system to ensure everything is done correctly the first time."
"I used to wait until the last minute to set appointments for the coming week, but I realised that scheduling in advance makes things much easier."
By turning your weaknesses into strengths, you’re still answering the question, but showing your ability to adapt and problem-solve – a great quality to have!
Ask for feedback
If you don’t get the job, don’t be too disappointed. Ask for feedback so that you can keep improving your interview technique and nail the next one.
Say thank you
Small things really do make a big difference, and something as simple as a thanking the interviewer for thier time can go along way.
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