FREE INTERVIEW ADVICE
Essential interview skills tips from Richard McMunn – The UK’s leading career advice expert.
A job interview is your opportunity to shine. It is your chance to show the employer that you are the person for the job and that you will do all that you can to perform above and beyond expectations if successful. Just by being at the interview you should naturally be enthusiastic about the prospect of working for the company. Why be there, if your heart is not in it?
The psychological element of an interview is very important. Preparing emotionally for the interview is just as important as researching the company. Being in the right mindset will help you to perform at your best. There are many things that you can do to ensure you are in the right frame of mind, both immediately prior to the interview, and in the weeks and days leading up to it.
Some of these include walking, running, swimming or general exercise, eating healthily and also avoiding alcohol or junk food. To the majority of people, these small changes won’t seem worth the effort. However, through personal experience, these small changes can make a massive difference to your mindset and self-confidence.
Matching the job description and/or the person specification
Before you start preparing for the interview you must get a copy of the job description and person specification for the job you are applying for. The vast majority of employers will assess you primarily against these important documents. Your first task is to try to think of areas where you match the job description and person specification. It is vital that you can provide evidence of where you match the job description for the role that you are applying for.
This carries far more weight than people think. First impressions are so important. It says a lot about who you are. Remember that you only get one opportunity to create a first impression. Unless it is specifically not required you should always dress in proper business attire such as a suit and tie or equivalent if you are female. Your shoes must be clean too, and if you need a haircut, then get it done a few days before. I always advise people to prepare the night before the interview and lay everything out pressed and ready for the morning. Even down to your underwear, which sounds ridiculous, but it is all about limiting the stress that you will already be under on the day of your interview. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing around for your clothes or shoes on the big day only to find you threw away those smart shoes months ago!
Travelling to the interview
• How are you going to get to the interview?
• Do you know where you are going to park?
• Are the trains or buses running on time?
• Do you need a congestion charge ticket if in London?
These are all obvious questions but important nonetheless. Again it is all down to preparation. Remember to take a contact number with you just in case you are going to be late for the interview. Then you can call them well in advance to tell them you will be late due to a breakdown or traffic congestion. If you are travelling by car, don’t wear your jacket. Hang it up on a coat hanger so that it is not creased when you arrive for the interview.
This can be related to the above subject but is still just as important. Make sure you leave with plenty of time to spare before your interview. It’s far better to arrive an hour early than 5 minutes late! I usually arrive 30 minutes before my interview and sit in the car and re-read the job description for the role or information about the company that I am applying to join.
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