How to nail an interview

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How to nail an interview: your at-a-glance guide

Best-ever interview tips for before, during and after the big day

Your job application and CV ticked all the boxes and now it’s time for an interview. So what’s the best way to prove yourself to your potential manager?

Read on to find out our key advice for before, during and after your interview.

How to nail an interview: Before interview day

Research the company

The more you know, the better informed and enthusiastic you can seem about working at this potential new company. So research online for facts like:

  • The products and services the company offers
  • Who its main rivals are
  • The company vision and mission statement

It’s handy to know a little about your interviewer, too. Are they on LinkedIn for you to research? You can also try searching for their email address and see what comes up.

What do the company’s social media feeds tell you about how they do things? Glean ideas on talking points, like whether they support any charity initiatives.

Prepare possible answers

As most interviewers ask standard questions based on your CV – about work, the job you’re being interviewed for and your life outside work - you’ll feel more confident if you can prepare some replies in advance.

Bearing in mind the job spec’s main duties and responsibilities, can you come up with examples of when you’ve demonstrated these in action? Also, think about what you could contribute to this role.

Think up your own questions

It’s vital to think up at least one intelligent question to ask at the end - even if you feel your interviewer has explained things properly.

Examples could include ‘What are the challenges facing the team/department/organisation?’ and ‘After I’ve been in this role for three months, how will you measure my success?’. You can also read examples of questions you shouldn’t ask.

Check logistics

Arriving late wrecks your interview chances, pure and simple. Not only does it make you flustered but it suggests unreliability, too.

Ahead of time, check which building the interview is to be held in, and the nearest car park or public transport stop.

Clothes and personal grooming make an impression, so if you’re not sure what to wear remember it’s best to dress slightly smarter than casual. Look at the company’s social media and take cues from what staff are wearing.

At HR GO, we always try to give candidates as much information as possible about what to expect at an interview – and that includes what we feel might be the best dress code for the day.

How to nail an interview: On the day of the interview

Aim for eye contact

Most interviewers take 90 seconds to form their opinion of you. So smile and introduce yourself with a handshake when you meet, maintaining eye contact.

Above all, be yourself. Your potential employer wants to see the authentic you.

Answer questions like a pro

The key is to be enthusiastic about the job and the prospect of working for the company.

If you don’t know the answer to a question, be up front and say clearly that you don’t know, but would like to find out. Try to stay calm and collected if you’re being put under pressure - this might be a test of how well you cope in tricky situations.

Don’t risk exaggerating your skills or experience in your answers as you’ll probably be found out. And as tempting as it might be to criticise your previous boss in any way, don’t. It’s unprofessional and reflects badly on you as an employee.

End things on a good note

How an interview ends are how an interviewer will remember you. So shake hands and thank them for the chance to learn more about the job and the organisation.

How to nail an interview: After your interview

Call or email your HR GO consultant to let them know how things went. They’ll be able to tell you what happens next and when you’re likely to hear more news.

If you’re successful, they’ll let you know and help you through the next steps of negotiating salary and terms, including a start date.

If you didn’t get the job this time, try not to be too down-hearted or take it personally. Take the opportunity to get as much feedback as possible and put all the learning to good use in your next interview. 

For more tips and advice, you can find our full guide on how to ace an interview.

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