I is for Interviews


You can find information about the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge here or read the rest of my A to Z posts by following this link.

Today is day 9 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge and todays topic is Interviews.  Interviews can be fairly daunting things to attend, let alone prepare for, there are so man things to consider from what to wear, how to greet the interviewer, what questions will be asked, how to prepare answers, even things like how should you sit and how to present yourself.  So, in this post I am going to share some help, advice and tips that I have learned along the way and from the many, many interviews that I have attended.  Hopefully, by applying some of these things you will feel less anxious about the interview and maybe, even, enjoy the whole process.

  1. Research the company.  These days most companies have a website and various other social media channels which make it easy to research just what the company does.  Look for information about its history, when it was set up, it’s core beliefs and values, how many employees it has and which sector it sits in.  Having this knowledge is useful as it shows that you have an interest in the company from how it started to how it got to where it is now.
  2. Research the job role.  While the job role may be generic, for example administration assistant, find out exactly what that means to that company.  Job roles can vary greatly from one company to another so it is vital that you research just what the company expects from you in the role you have applied for.  More often than not, you should be able to find out this information from the pack you received when applying for the job, however, looking online and doing a search should give you an idea of the types of activities you will be expected to carry out on a day to day basis.  Knowing this information can help you build some relevant questions to ask your interviewers.
  3. Research your interviewers.  Often, when you get invited to attend an interview, you will be given the name or names of the persons interviewing you.  It is worth spending some time looking into who they are and what their business backgrounds are, where they started, how long they have been with the company and any other useful information.  Not only will this give you an idea of who the interviewers are but it can help you to generate some interesting questions to ask them.  You should be able to find out information about your interviewers via the company website or from their LinkedIn profiles.  This step will also show that you are not only interested in the company and the job but in the people who you will be working with.
  4. Write down any questions that you may have from the first 3 points.  This is essential.  Do not rely on your memory to try to remember any questions.  have a notepad or paper beside you when researching the first 3 points and make note of questions as you go.  You can always go back and review or change the questions afterwards.
  5. Find out the dress code for the company.  Knowing the dress code for the company will help you in your choice of attire for the interview.  Have a look for the company on Facebook and see what images have been shared of their workers.  Make a note of what they are wearing, is it super formal and mostly black and white or are the clothing choices bright, modern and cool?  Once you know this you can incorporate the companies overall style into your interview outfit.  I would always suggest dressing smart but adding a hint of the company style into your outfit too, for example a skirt and jacket but instead of a shirt, maybe a bright, plain fitted t-shirt under the jacket, or a patterned dress under a formal jacket.
  6. Prepare your outfit and accessories.  Make sure that your outfit is clean and freshly laundered and pressed.  Check that your shoes are clean and any scuffs are fixed, and if necessary get them re-soled or re-heeled.  Check that your bag is clean, dust free and empty!  Write down any questions you have into a smart notebook, and make sure that you have a pen that writes.
  7. Pack your bag with interview necessities.  I like to pack my bag with only the things I may need for the interview.  My packing essentials are mints, tissues, deodorant or perfume, lip balm, hair brush, bottle of water, smart pens, notebook, spare tights.  Your list may differ slightly but it is best to only pack the things you may need, there is nothing worse than reaching into your bag for something and pulling out a load of unnecessary items, or worse, spending valuable time rummaging around to find one thing.
  8. Show up early.  I like to arrive to an interview around 15 minutes early.  This gives me time to park my car, find the interview place, go to the toilet, carry out any last-minute appearance touch-ups and gives me time to breath and calm myself.  These 15 minutes can make all the difference to your demeanour in the interview.
  9. Match your interviewers body language, posture and voice.  Watch how your interviewer sits and moves and mirror those gestures and postures.  By doing this you are encouraging feelings of trust and understanding.  Keep the same tone of voice as your interviewer, match the speed at which they talk, and talk clearly.  Try not to be too lengthy in your answers, shorter and more concise answers are easier for your interviewer to follow and remember.
  10. Ask Questions.  In all interviews I have ever attended I have been asked if I have any questions.  The worst thing to do is not have any at all which is where our research from the first 3 points comes in handy, this is your time to show that you have an understanding of the company, what is expected of you and about your interviewers.  Try to ask at least one question from each – 1 on the company, one on your role and one about your interviewer or interviewers.
  11. Maintain eye contact.  When the interviewer is speaking try to maintain eye contact, and use open body language which will help you seem focused and interested.  When you are speaking try to maintain eye contact or look from interviewer to interviewer.  This shows confidence and helps to build a bond of trust with your interviewers.
  12. Say thank you.  once the interview is over remember to thank the interviewers for their time and the opportunity to have an interview/be considered for the role.  Shake hands and, if not already mentioned, ask when it is likely that you will hear from them.

Do you have any other tips that you could add?  Have you used any of the tips I have listed and how have they helped?