Whether you’re preparing for your first ever job interview, or are experienced enough to feel confident going for a new role, here are some gems of advice that could help.
From being refreshingly honest when you don’t know how to answer a question, to how you spend the last few moments before you meet your interviewer, these tweaks might just make the difference between rejection and success…
When it comes to your most dreaded interview question, being asked for your biggest weakness probably scores highly. Don’t be tempted to talk about what a perfectionist you are - it sounds phoney unless backed up with winning, and real, examples.
In the same way, trotting off pre-prepared answers might be slick but risks appearing over-rehearsed. The aim is authentic, likeable and low-key, so leave any outrageous claims and inflated egos for The Apprentice auditions and concentrate on being a real person instead.
What if there’s a tricky question you don’t know the answer to? The danger of guessing, or just making something up, is that your interviewer will see straight through you.
Instead, be up front. Saying clearly that you don’t know the answer (but would like to find out) can be a great indication of honesty and enthusiasm to learn - chances are they’re attributes a potential employer is happy to see in a candidate.
The last few minutes before an interview can be notoriously nerve-wracking. Use your waiting time to re-read the job advert and remind yourself of the type of candidate they’re looking for.
You can also highlight key words and phrases from the job description and have them ready to drop into your conversation. At HR GO, we aim to give a clear picture of what your new role will entail, so having these specific and relevant details fresh in your mind will make it easier for you to show you have the right qualities for the role.
It's fine to have negative baggage from a previous job or the one you’re looking to exit - you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t - but make sure you leave it at the door before you enter the interview.
Even if you’re fed up with your current job or are still reeling from your last boss, complaining about your situation is a hands-down interview crime. It’ll give a potential employer heavy hints about your professionalism and the attitude you’ll bring into your new role. Result? You’re the one who looks bad, not your previous company.
It can be hard to banish bad-mouthing - particularly if you feel you have a legitimate grievance - but adding a positive spin is always the smartest move.
Not knowing much about the company you’re applying to shows a serious lack of interest - not to mention curiosity. Especially as it’s easier than ever to research with a click and a swipe on a smartphone.
But rather than regurgitating pages of their official website, try to put a personal spin on your research. Talk about why the company interests you and how you feel you could contribute to where they’re heading. Put yourself in one of their client’s shoes and think about what makes the business stand out to them. Or speak about how you feel you could contribute to where the company’s going.
When you’re asked if you have any questions but reply ‘No, you’ve answered everything I wanted to know’, you won’t win any prizes for originality.
Rather than hope some juicy topics crop up in the course of the interview, prepare an inciteful, real question about something you’re genuinely interested to know.
And remember: the interview isn’t just about a potential employer seeing if you’re the right candidate for the job. It’s also a chance for you to assess if this company’s right for you, too.
Take a look at our interview advice - Your guide to interviews to help you prepare and be successful.