How to ace that all important interview by Ryan McManus

Many people get worried when it comes to thinking about interviews and how well they will cope. I am hoping to share a few top tips for preparing for them and how to cope when you are finally in the interviews…..because after all, it could be make or break!

Before the Interview

Before the interview it is always good to memorise as many of your key qualities and traits as you can. This gives you lots of flexibility to link them to your responses to the questions the interviewer will ask. Same goes with real life examples. What have you done better than others? Get them listed down and memorised, as you will need them to impress the interviewer!

If you’re asked to prepare a presentation or speech for an interview, think of it as a positive. It gives you a chance to steer the interview. The best thing to reduce your nerves is to practice until you feel comfortable that you cannot do it better (If you fail to prepare you are preparing to fail.) Notes will not be frowned upon as long as you focus on your audience and don’t read in to your notes! Make sure you rehearse the presentation; get someone to watch and make notes and comment back to you. It’s amazing how many errors you pick up by reading it over yourself. Time your presentation as running too much over is not good and you may be cut short, but also running too much under can also portray a lack of planning. Giving the interviewer hand-outs it demonstrates your organisation.

Dress suitably for the job you have applied for. If it is a well-respected company and all of the workers dress in suits, don’t turn up in your joggers/jeans and expect to be offered the job. It’s better to over dress than under dress. If it’s your first time in a suit and tie and you feel stupid …don’t worry, everyone else probably feels the same way too! Clean and polished shoes are always a must and a belt always helps to smarten things up.

Neat hair – Both on your head and on your face. The first thing the interviewer will look at is you so look presentable. (You have 7 Seconds to make a first impression)

Don’t use too much aftershave/perfume. It’s always good to smell nice but if you’re wearing that much that the interviewer eyes are watering, it’s probably not given the best first impression.

Sweaty palms – There is not much you can do about it and don’t let it put you off one bit, but if you can maybe run your hands under the cold tap before the interview to try and suppress it, it may help.

Bad breath is something that can be helped – Maybe take mints instead of chewing gum as you want your breath to smell nice but don’t want to be chewing when you are being interviewed.

Make sure you try to get lots of sleep the night before. Although the nerves might be kicking in and every sentence and question is running through your head, try and go to the interview with a fresh, rested mind.

Take a pen with you – It’s not always needed but if you do need it, it gives off a sign that you have come prepared.

If you’re asked to provide references make sure they are reliable and ensure they have good written and language skills.

In the Interview (What to expect)

Different interviews can take different forms so read though the below and just apply the tips that you think are most relevant for the type of interview you have been asked to do.

Always ensure that you act confident. Interviewers will understand that you are nervous as everyone is, but don’t mumble or be shy when answering them. They are not there to catch you out, they want a genuine conversation with you and are not there to make you worry or shy. If you are standing for a while, whether presenting or waiting etc don’t slouch or lean against the wall, put yourself though the pain of standing normally for those few minutes.

Have good eye contact with the interviewer, don’t stare at them but on the other hand don’t stare at the floor constantly (or out of the window!) – get the balance right.

If there is a large interview audience don’t be fazed by it. Try and speak to them all when responding and not just focus on one person. Think of it as more people to impress.

Don’t fidget. Whether sitting down or standing up, there is nothing more off putting for an interviewer than to watch someone rocking their chair or tapping their leg.

If you get a “personal interview”:they just want to know about you, and genuinely just about you as a person.

Don’t give up if you get stuck on a question. A short pause might seem like 2 minutes to you at the time, but in reality its only 2 seconds and the interviewer hasn’t even noticed.

Don’t give up on rejection. If you don’t succeed in the first interview, don’t get disheartened. Learn from the mistakes and build upon it to move you onto bigger and better things.

Some things you just can’t prepare for. If you can’t change or affect something …don’t worry about it!

Hope it helps!

My other blog “Tips for applying for an apprenticeship” is also on here, which covers points for the initial stage of the application process and some of the points covered there will also help you out for interviews so why not check that out.

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