Interviews can be daunting; they aren’t meant to be. It’s an opportunity for an employer to get to know you and see if you are able to fulfil the role. Here at Inspira, we thought we’d share a few things you can do to ensure your interview goes as smoothly as possible.
What are employers looking for?
If you have been invited to an interview, remember it means you’ve done a fantastic job in your application and the employer wants to know more about you. So, what is it that employers are looking for in an interview?
- They want to get to know you. (More than just your CV/ piece of paper)
- They want to know if you have the skills and knowledge they’re looking for.
- They want to see some passion and enthusiasm for the role and profession you have applied for.
- They want to see if you would complement their existing team.
Preparation is key to a successful interview and making sure you have researched the employer is vital, here are some things to get you started:
- What does the company do?
- What is their mission statement?
- How long have they been running?
- Where are they located?
- Who is their CEO?
- What is the job description?
Make sure you are also prepared to answer questions about the role you have applied for. Roles might change from company to company. Additionally, if any information has been sent to you in advance make sure you read it. Any research done will show your drive and enthusiasm, it does not go unnoticed by employers.
Here are some things you can do beforehand that will ensure you are as calm and relaxed as possible when going into an interview:
- Be sure to arrive ten minutes early. If you arrive with thirty seconds left to spare, you will start on the wrong foot with the employer.
- Plan your journey. Make sure you also have a phone with you in case there are any unforeseen circumstances on the journey.
- Plan what you are going to wear the day before. This will take some stress out of the day but remember you want what you wear to reflect your professionalism (it’s not about the latest trends and logos).
- What to take with you? If you have a portfolio of projects, you have worked on or a portfolio of your achievements. This can help show employers the standard of your work and will also help them see your passion for the industry. Consider taking a notebook, having your research and questions you’d like clarification on hand this will show employers you are prepared and keen.
There will be questions! The interview format and questions they ask will depend on what you have applied for. Practice answers to common interview questions and make sure you know any technical information they could ask you about. Think clearly about the answers you give and back them up with examples. If you need help with Interview questions and how to answer them, or would like to learn about The STAR method technique for answering questions, check out our blogs for more info.
Types of Questions
A common initial question is ‘tell me about yourself?’ this seems quite straightforward initially, but it can trip many people up as they are not prepared for it. You should take some time to put an answer together for this and practice it. Consider what they already know about you from your application, you don’t want to give them a full life history.
It’s also common to ask about your strengths, think about what you would tell someone your top three strengths are. This is another question that seems quite straightforward but that many of us struggle with. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate to the employer why you have chosen your strengths, you’ll have to back them up with examples.
Digital/ Telephone Interviews
You should treat a digital style interview the same as a face-to-face one. The questions will be the same and your answers need to be of the same high standard. Plan, if you’re invited to an interview using skype, zoom or teams make sure you can access the technology and feel confident using it. If you have a problem, make sure you contact the employer as soon as possible and let them know they should be able to offer you another interview via a different method. Don’t wait until two minutes before the interview starts before realising you’ve got a problem.
Make sure you have a suitable background if your interview is via video call, you don’t want to be sat in your bedroom with a pile of dirty washing in the corner. Make sure those around you know when you’re having your interview to avoid disruptions. You’ll perform better if you know you have a quiet space and you aren’t anticipating any disruptions.
If you are applying for a degree-level apprenticeship, you may be called for a speed interview first. The company will use this initially to get a feel for your competency and suitability for the role. You may be offered a different role than the one you applied for, as the interviewer felt you had the correct attributes for an alternative role they were offering. You need to prepare for how you’re going to react to this. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is any less formal, it’s still a selection technique, prepare and act as though it were a full-blown panel interview.
Assessment Centre/ Group Interviews
A few things about group interviews and assessment centres, you along with others will be set a series of tasks. Somethings to keep in mind are:
- It’s still an interview, you will be assessed the whole time you are there.
- Think about all the things we have talked about already such as, how to present yourself, your body language, showing your enthusiasm and interests.
- The tasks set may seem random to you at first, but they are looking for specific skills in you.
- They aren’t always looking for a leader, they will be looking for various skills throughout the day. Listen to other members of the team and make sure you contribute.
- Keep your eye on the time!
Things to Consider and Remember!
- Body language – hold your head up, smile and look them in the eye.
- Shake their hand with a good grip.
- Speak clearly and at a good pace.
- What you wear, think professional or appropriate for the workplace.
- Remember you are being interviewed from the moment you are visible to the employer.
- Mobile phones… Make sure they are out of sight and not heard for the time you are being interviewed or assessed.
Everyone can benefit massively by preparing themselves for an interview. Thoroughly researching and preparing for an interview helps improve your performance; helping you sell your skills to employers and makes you feel confident. If you need help preparing for an interview, get in touch with one of our expert career's advisers for free 1:1 support today.
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