How to survive an Interview

Recently, I have been asked by a few friends how they should prepare for an interview and what they should expect. This post will hopefully enlighten you and make you aware of what employers look for in a candidate. As a disclaimer I am not an expert, however i’ve learnt a thing or two about interviews in my time. A lot of this information may seem common sense, but you’d be surprised at how some people behave under pressure.

Punctuality- Please please DO NOT be late. This for me is unforgiveable. I don’t think i’ve ever been late for an interview. Leave an hour either end at least for any emergency situations that may arise, e.g. car breaking down, getting lost, missing the bus, stain on shirt etc. Sods law does apply often on interview day so make sure you make contingency plans. Some employees will be sympathetic for a genuine reason, but the majority will have no problems in forgetting all about you if you are late.

Appearance – Dress neatly, non offensive and generic. For most jobs you are interviewing for a nice suit for guys will do, and girls, please don’t wear any thing uncomfortable, tight or too short. Someone once told me, dress for the job you want to get, not for the job you have. In other words, power dress, not 80s shoulder pads power dress, but dress with confidence.

Ask Questions- In many interviews I have had, they often leave time at the end and ask you if you have any questions for them. Please ask questions, one will be enough, try not to ask about too much money, ask about training for the job that you have applied for, organisational culture of the organisation or even something about how the recession has affected their productivity. It makes you appear to be interested in the company and also showed that you researched the company.

Research the company!!- Doing this makes you look like you care about where you may work, it appears as though you want to spend time and include yourself in the organisation. This may or may not be true, however, its all about saying the right things. So do a google search on the company, find out who the chief executive is, read up on their company mission statement,  values and aims. Believe me, this will make you look worth hiring.

Try not to worry about nerves- Lastly, everyone gets nervous, don’t worry about them. Try practising common  interview questions with an understanding friend, or alone and try not to develop a nervous twitch.