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Career Management

Surviving the Interview

“So this is what early morning looks like”, you begrudgingly mutter as you try to work out who the suited and booted booby dazzler is staring back at you in the mirror. Still in shock that today the soap has reached the parts that no other soap could reach, you freeze. “Argh! The dreaded interview! What if they don’t like me? What if I make a fool of myself?”

Relax…you will be amazed how many people feel like this particularly when they are inexperienced at interviews. This is why Career Advisor is here to offer you some top tips on how to achieve that “perfect interview”…well close!
  • Be Polite , professional and composed in your behaviour. Remember you are here to charm them not bulldoze them with your personality. This is not Pop Idol!
  • Be Relaxed – well as relaxed as you can be! Remember, they have invited you for an interview because they genuinely believe you have a good chance to fill the position. Also, the only way that you can work out if this is the right company for you, and that you are suitable for them, is by being yourself. Promote yourself a positively as you can!
  • Be smart – whilst they say “dress to impress“ it is extremely important that you dress smartly and in a presentable manner. However it is also important that you don’t wear anything that may draw attention away from the most important thing at the interview – you!
  • Be prepared – it is important that before you have arrived your CV doesn’t highlight any negative past experiences. However, should this be unavoidable be prepared, as constructively and positively as you can, to answer any awkward questions. Usually, it is best for you to show what you have learnt from these experiences to establish that you can draw positively from them.
“Never underestimate what skills, both personal and professional, that you have picked up from the most insignificant of experiences!”
  • Be positive – when you are asked to draw on your experience, no matter how tempting it is to have a good moan, try and be as positive and play up what you have learnt. If you do feel the need to criticise your last course or job then try and be as constructively critical as you can.
  • Be confident in yourself and incisive – never underestimate what skills, both personal and professional, that you have picked up from the most insignificant of experiences! Be sure to have a good think about your individual qualities and to draw on your relevant personal and professional experiences throughout the interview.
  • Be diplomatic – If the position states salary negotiable then don’t be afraid to ask how much the salary is at the appropriate moment. Also, if there are things that you are unclear about show the confidence to ask!
  • Be informed - i.e. DO YOUR RESEARCH – nothing impresses a potential employer more than to show that you have an inside knowledge of the marketplace they operate within. If you don’t have this from previous experience then try and find out a bit about the company and what the job entails. Promote what personal qualities that you can bring to the position and to the company as an active employee.
  • Be interested - Always try and ask some questions about the company or the position advertised – it shows that you are genuinely interest in the job. If you can’t think of a question to ask then don’t sit there like a lemon, just tell them that you are happy with everything that you have seen today!

Do remember that most people, no matter how experienced they are, get nervous about job interviews. However, if you want more practical tips then contact your local careers office for some personal one-on-one advice.

Author: Emma Salt.





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