The devil is in the detail. You’ve read our interview essentials, prepped your portfolio, researched the company and considered your responses but have you really taken everything into account. Here we run down some of the finer details which might just make a big difference on the day.
Interview extras top tip 1: Be prepared
- Make sure your documents are in an accessible folder so you can pull them out easily when needed. Much better than fumbling around in the bottom of your bag!
- First impressions always count so go equipped with an umbrella if there is any threat of a shower. Windy weather can also dishevel the best-set hairdo… make sure you leave time to tidy yourself up when you arrive
- Arrive no more than 5 (at a push 10) minutes early – some companies do not have sufficient space to hold applicants who arrive too early and it can be awkward for them to be juggling candidates.
- Consider traffic, where you will park and importantly, how much it will cost. You do not want to be caught out with a parking ticket.
Interview extras top tip 2: Be aware of your surroundings
- Remember that all the members of staff will be assessing you, whether you are being interviewed by them or not. Make sure you are friendly, smile and are polite to everyone you meet.
- Is the company right for you? An interview is also about deciding whether the company is right for you.
- Do you like the person who would be your Manager – can you learn from them?
- What do you think of the other people who work there?
- Have you looked at the company’s values or considered what they might be if they are not overtly stated?
- What is the culture like? What will be expected of you? Are you comfortable that you could achieve in that environment?
- Will you love that job?
Interview extras top tip 3: Be thorough in the questions you need answering
- Plan ahead with the questions you want answered but don’t forget to adapt your plan. It is frustrating for employers to feel they have covered off content only to get asked again. However, feel free to clarify information if you are not sure you have understood.
- Consider all the things that you would like to know about the role, the culture, the hours of work, the holidays, a typical day (as this might be very different to how it is described in an advert), what the team do to work together more effectively, what career progression might look like, what training is on offer…
Interview extras top tip 4: Be honest
- Lots of interview training will tell you to ‘turn a negative into a positive’. People can take this to extremes. There is nothing more cringe worthy when you ask a candidate to be honest about something to hear them scrabble to turn it into a positive and in a way which seems disingenuous.
- If you have to use an example where a situation didn’t go to plan, talk about why, show you recognise what you would do differently next time and be open. This is more effective than trying to cover something up or trying to turn something on its head. That’s not to say, be negative, because much worse is someone who cannot recognise their strengths.
Interview extras top tip 5: Be conscious of the whole panel
- When more than one person is interviewing you, different members of the panel might be interested in hearing about different things and it is good to gauge what they are each looking for.
- Making conscious eye contact and engaging with all the members of the panel is incredibly important – rather than focussing on just one person.
Interview extras top tip 6: Be understanding.
- It’s important to remember that it can be nerve-wracking for the employer as well. Taking on a new team member is a big commitment.