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Many candidates write perfect CVs and covering letters and spend hours preparing for the interview stage just to learn afterwards that another candidate got the job. There are many different reasons that could lead to this development. Sometimes there is a better candidate, sometimes you do not fit with the corporate culture, but sometimes the problem is your interview preparation. We are aware of these difficulties and aim to provide quality advice and guidance to all job seekers working with us. Here are some great tips that you can follow to prepare for your interview:
Very often people focus their attention on preparing their answers and leave the research of the company for the last minute. This usually results in awkward silence or mumbling when asked company-specific questions during the interview. Employers use these types of questions to check if you have done your homework and to see whether you really want the job.
Spend a few hours researching the company. A starting point is the company website, but do not limit your research only to this company channel. Search online for recent product launches, corporate news, awards they have received. Their social media channels will probably feature some of these and will help you form a better idea of the organisation. Also check recent publications in newspapers and employee blogs to inform yourself about the way the company is perceived.
Make sure that you know what the interview format is and who is interviewing you in advance. If you do not have this information contact your recruiter or your HR contact. They may also tell you the names of the interviewers and it is your job to research them before you meet them.
Once you have done your research you can start practising your answers. Even though there is no set format for every interview you can still practise answering the most common interview questions. These will focus on your strengths and weaknesses, skills and knowledge, your motivation and why you think you are the best candidate for the job. You can also try to anticipate some of the more specific questions they may ask you. Have ready answers to the questions “Tell me about yourself?” and “What’s your biggest weakness?” If asked about your weaknesses focus on something you are struggling with you are working on improving, giving examples of your progress to date.
Search for common interview questions online and prepare good, well-structured answers. You can use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) technique. Start by outlining the situation and the task you had to complete. Be more detailed in explaining the actions you took, why you took them and how they relate to your skills. Finish by describing the final result, what you learned and how that helped the company you were working for. It is a good idea to prepare some numbers and percentages to exemplify your accomplishments and responsibilities. Be ready to explain what interests you in the particular role and company and how you can contribute to their success if hired.
You can practise answering certain questions while looking in the mirror or arrange a mock interview with a friend. These will help you get more comfortable with the answers. You can also bring a copy of your resume, references, portfolio and documents to the interview. Even if they do not need them it shows that you are well-prepared.
If you want the job you need to look the part. Dress smart with well-fitting clothes and polished shoes. This will ensure that you make a good first impression. If you are not sure what to wear, business or business casual dress code is preferable, unless you have been told to dress casually by the recruiter. Make sure that your outfit is ready the day before the interview.
No matter how nervous you are just before the interview, stay in control. Plan your route and give yourself some extra time. Remember to speak clearly, smile and be friendly. Answer with confidence and focus on promoting yourself. Your body language is also very important, so sit up straight in a good posture. You can use hand gestures, but avoid crossing your arms and legs as this is associated with being defensive.
Now that you have answered your interviewers’ questions it is time to ask some of your own. These should be prepared in advance during your research of the company. Get around five questions, some about the job itself and a few about the goals and culture of the company. These will demonstrate your interest in the position.
If you are looking for new job opportunities or you need advice on how to promote yourself during an interview then Search can help you. We have a range of opportunities available across a number of different sectors in many local recruitment agencies, from a recruitment agency Manchester, Glasgow, and other cities in the UK. Our experienced team will help you throughout the whole application process with professional advice and guidance. All you need to do is contact us and we will help you find your dream job.