By Gautam Godhwani, Co-founder and CEO of SimplyHired. co.uk
- Interviews are daunting for everyone, but they are often very difficult for new graduates. Many have never experienced the interview process before, and with thousands of students graduating into a tough economy each year, the job search market for recent graduates remains extremely competitive. Here are 10 tips to ensure your next interview is a success!
Preparation is key, so do as much research as possible prior to your interview. An interviewer wants to know not only what you can bring to their company, but also why you want the job. If you don’t know anything about the company or job field, you may as well head home. Social media is a great place to begin research: visit the company Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages to find out what they do and value, and use that knowledge to your advantage in the interview.
Leverage your connections
It’s possible you may be connected to someone at the company where you are interviewing. Ask friends and family if they know anyone who works or has worked at your potential employer. If you can arrange a conversation with an existing employee, you may get valuable tips that can help with your interview. Networking is essential: if you impress an employee, it is likely they will put in a good word for you.
Memorise your CV
This may seem obvious – it’s your CV, so of course you should be able to talk about
it in detail. But often a candidate will be asked a question about an experience on their CV and won’t have an answer. Make sure you can elaborate on each section of your CV. Practice with a friend; have them look at your CV and ask questions regarding one or more of your roles. It’s also a great idea to rehearse a brief recap of your experience to help you answer one of the most common opening questions, “Tell me about yourself.”
Dress to impress
It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed. Unfortunately, interviewers are likely to judge a book by its cover, so ensure they have nothing to dislike from the beginning. This means dressing professionally and looking sharp.
Arrive on time
Nothing will annoy an interviewer more than a candidate running late – or even arriving too early. If you can’t show up to an interview on time, how can you be trusted with major responsibilities? Plan your route the day before and aim to be about ten minutes early; giving yourself extra time will allow for traffic or other unexpected delays. If you find that you’re too early, find a place near the office to do some last-minute preparation.
Turn off your mobile phone. Off, not silent
One of the worst things that could happen is your phone buzzing during an interview. Even if the interviewer doesn’t hear it, you will be aware of and distracted by it. You want to be focused on one thing – the interview – and nothing else!
If you are unfamiliar with a specific technology, or don’t have a certain skill and an employer asks you about it, don’t lie. Tell the interviewer you’re a fast learner and that you’re eager to get involved. This will be much better than pretending you know something and digging yourself into a hole later.
It is essential to be prepared when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. Something as simple as, “What would my daily responsibilities entail?” is a great starting point. Asking questions shows that you are invested in learning about the role and the type of work you will be expected to do. Once you are given the answer to this question, you can share with the interviewer the traits you possess that can help carry out those responsibilities.
Avoid discussing benefits or salary in the first interview
Compensation should not be brought up in your first interview; unless the interviewer mentions it first, save it for future discussion. Asking an interviewer how much you will earn may make them think you are only interested in money. The goal of the initial interview is to paint a positive picture of yourself and how well you will work in the company, not establish how much money you expect to earn.
Say thank you and follow up
It is imperative to thank your interviewer for taking time out of their day to meet with you. Follow up within 24 hours with a note or email, once again thanking the interviewer. Be sure to summarise your qualities and interest in the role, and also use it as an opportunity to ask further questions or clarify points discussed in the interview. Not only does a follow- up note show that you have great manners, but it will also remind the interviewer about you and help them toward their decision.
For more job search advice, tips and news, visit blog.simplyhired.co.uk.