No interview is the same and each will depend on the business, the interviewer and the role being interviewed for, but the more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel and appear.
At Bond Williams, we aim to provide our candidates with as much valuable information and practical advice as possible that is relevant for the role you are applying for. However, the following advice can be applied to any interview situation.
Before the interview
As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. It’s surprising how many people go for interviews without reminding themselves of the role, skills required and the company.
You only ever get one chance to make a first impression, so prior to the interview, make sure you follow these best practices.
Familiarise yourself with your application and job specification – You were offered an interview based on the experience and skills conveyed in your CV and covering letter, so remind yourself what you said. Have practical examples to back up your credentials and think ahead of the ways you can show how your skills are easily transferable to this role. Read through the job description again and consider making notes next to each point with your relevant experience.
Research – Make sure you conduct some background research on the company and its people, especially those who are interviewing you. It is really important that you are aware of exactly what the company does, its achievements and even who its competitors are. Company websites, search engines and even social media are excellent sources of information. Be prepared that the employer may conduct their own research too. The jury is still out as to whether this should actually happen, but some companies may check social media profiles and even talk to ex-colleagues.
Plan your route – Know where you are going and if possible, do a trial run to the interview location beforehand. Don’t arrive too early, but certainly don’t be late and make sure you know where to park if you are driving, or how far the walk is from the nearest bus or train station. Have a back-up plan just in case your transport lets you down.
Prepare for the day – Make a note of who you are seeing, so you know who you need to ask for. Print a copy of your CV, the job specification and if you have one, a portfolio of work if applicable to the role. Write down some questions in advance and if you can, ask a friend to help you prepare for the interview with a role play.
Get your outfit ready – Plan your outfit and dress the part. If the role is office-based and commercial, don’t be afraid to go smart. If the job is of a manual nature, you could tone it down, but still ensure you present yourself professionally. Determine what outfit would be most appropriate for the type of role you are going for. You can be over-dressed going in a suit for a manual role and vice versa. If you are really unsure then we suggest go smarter rather than casual.
At the interview
When the day finally arrives, try to put the nerves to one side and appear confident and friendly. So long as you have prepared and done your research, you have done all you can to give yourself a head start.
Here’s our step-by-step guide for a successful interview.
Ask for the right person when you arrive and make sure you smile.
Give a good and firm hand shake and make eye contact when you meet your interviewer or the person greeting you.
Body language plays a big part during the interview. Be aware of how you sit during the interview, ensure you have good posture and don’t fold your arms, for example. If you are nervous keep your hands on your lap under the table and try not to fidget. Try to maintain eye contact throughout. If there is more than one person present during the interview, which is often the case, ensure you respond to all parties when answering questions to show you can build relationships.
Be confident, be yourself and be enthusiastic. The client has taken the time out to read your CV and has put time aside to interview you so they are obviously interested in what you have to offer.
Avoid answering just ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or using slang or abbreviated language. Where possible, support your answers with examples and previous experience or your studies. Using the STAR technique can really help to showcase your abilities – give an example of a Situation, the Tasks, the Action and the Result.
Listen and don’t be afraid to ask for something to be repeated if you don’t understand or need clarification.
The interviewer is very likely to ask you why you are interested in the job and you need to be able to explain clearly and articulately about why you are well-suited to the role and what skills you can bring to the position and company as a whole.
Closing the interview
At the end of the interview the interviewee will most likely ask if you have any questions if you haven’t asked them already. Ask intelligent questions that are relevant to the role and company.
Thank them for their time and give a clear indication if you are still interested by asking when you can expect to hear from them, when they expect to make a decision and when are they looking for someone to start. You could also ask how many people they are interviewing and what the next stage will be if you are successful. Don’t forget to say goodbye to other members of the team if they were part of the interview or looked after you.
After the interview
Please call your Bond Williams recruitment consultant as soon as you can after the interview. We’d like to know how you thought it went and also if you’re still interested. We will also ask clients for their feedback for your information.
In addition, you may have questions resulting from the interview that you forgot to ask or didn’t feel it appropriate to ask, and we can help with that.
Ultimately, our aim is to secure a successful outcome for both parties and quickly, so two-way open communication is best.
As soon as we have heard from the employer on whether you were successful, which can be the same day or up to two weeks afterwards depending on whether they have other interviews and when their closing date is, we’ll be in touch. We’ll also notify you of this expected time frame so you are not left wondering.
If you are unsuccessful, we’ll get as much feedback as possible, allowing you the opportunity to fine tune your performance for next time.
A huge thank you for finding me just what I wanted. I cannot believe the speed, efficiency and professionalism you have shown in placing me into a temporary assignment. You seemed to know exactly what I was looking for and the type of job I would find interesting and worthwhile. I am so pleased I came to Bond Williams.
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