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Are you ready for your interview?

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Going to an interview can be a daunting prospect and quite often people will share stories of times when it didn’t go so well. But there are ways to make them easier! Read on to find out how…

So you’ve been offered an interview – what do you do next?
Always confirm your attendance by email or telephone. If there are any problems, you need to sort them out as soon as possible and keep the organisation informed. And most importantly you need to prepare.

How can I prepare?
Practice! You will be asked questions about your skills, strengths and weaknesses and you will need offer evidence through specific examples. It is essential to think about your qualities and how you demonstrate them. Providing evidence of your attributes is vital so you really do need to think about specific examples. Always research the organisation, the job role, and the employer. Information on products, press releases, environmental and community policies will give you a feel for what is currently important to that employer.

Are there different types of interview?
Many companies, especially larger ones, will use a telephone interview as the first stage which may be followed by an assessment centre and/or a face to face interview. The questions you will be asked will depend on the employer and the type of work you have applied for.

What should I wear?
Dress to impress and plan in advance! It can take 10 seconds for the interviewer to form an impression of you – make sure you make the right impact. Your research into the company should give you an idea of dress code but, if you are in doubt, dress smartly (i.e. a suit or jacket and tie for men, a suit or similar for women). Take care with your personal hygiene and grooming, and also avoid smoking or eating strong smelling food prior to your interview. Keep jewellery to a minimum and don’t overdo the perfume or aftershave!

So you’re at the interview – what now?
Remember the employer is interested in finding out more about you, that’s why they invited you to interview, so think positively and try to stay calm. Below are a few other tips to help you stand out for all the right reasons:

  • Be enthusiastic about the company, the role and your skills
  • Remember to make eye contact throughout the interview
  • Think about your body language – avoid fidgeting
  • Listen carefully to the questions. Make sure you understand what you are being asked before you respond
  • Make sure you speak clearly, slowly, and that you can be heard
  • Ask questions – this shows you are interested but be careful to not ask anything that you should already know
  • Treat everyone you meet with courtesy and show interest – you never know who you might be talking to!

What happens next?
You will usually be told at the interview when you can expect to hear the result and what will happen next if they offer you the position. If this is not explained then ask. Send an email to the interviewer following the interview to thank them for their time; this can look professional and help you stand out. If you are unsuccessful on this occasion try to get feedback on your performance, it may help you the next time.

Remember that The Careers and Placements Service is here to help! We offer daily appointments and weekly workshops to help with your interview preparation – visit CareerHub to book your place.

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There is also help on the Jobs & Careers pages of StudyNet, including videos on how to succeed at interview.
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Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

Categories: Employment Tags: ,

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