Read our guide to find out more about how to plan and prepare for your interview so that you can make the best possible impression on your potential employers.
A Student Guide to Good Interview Practice
Landing a job interview can sometimes feel like hitting the jackpot, especially when you’ve spent weeks searching for vacancies and sending out CVs.
Your interviewer will have been impressed and intrigued by your application, but remember that they will also be meeting a selection of other candidates to discuss the role. An employer sets up numerous interviews in order to find out more about a group of suitable candidates and the skills and knowledge that they possess. The face-to-face meetings also allow them to determine whether or not individuals that look good on paper will actually fit in with their ethos and environment.
Our guide looks at what you can do both before and during an interview in order to make the best possible impression on your potential employer and prove that you are the right candidate to recruit.
Thoroughly research the company before you attend the job interview and have a selection of questions prepared, which you can ask the interviewer at the end.
Also think carefully about the characteristics, skills and experiences you want to put forward. Having this information safe in the back of your mind can be incredibly valuable, as the mental cue cards can help you present yourself in the best possible light where you give substantial and authentic answers to any questions asked.
It can also prevent you from drawing a blank, as you will know what message and image of yourself you want to portray to your potential employer.
Have the right attitude
An interview is your time to demonstrate exactly what you can bring to an organisation. Have an enthusiastic and professional attitude right from the offset in order to make a positive first impression and showcase exactly how you will be an asset to the business on a daily basis.
Also demonstrate a passion for the organisation, as interviewers like to see that a candidate has taken the time to research and get to know their business. It is also recommended that you express exactly how you will be able to contribute to the success of the business by becoming part of the team – highlighting your indispensability to the interviewer.
Ask meaningful questions
Every candidate knows that they should ask questions, but many struggle to come up with anything substantial.
Ask about the business in order to show your keen interest, see if there are opportunities for promotion and progression to prove that you are driven and also enquire into the challenges of the role, giving you an opportunity to express how you would tackle these.
While you may think that this is easier said than done, you should avoid giving any routine, bland answers that an interviewer will have heard before. Instead, tell stories and anecdotes that address the questions asked in order to provide the potential employer with greater understanding of you and how you would work within their organisation.
Make a lasting impression
Always follow up your interview with a thank you letter outlining what you gained and learned from the process. This can help you make a lasting positive impression and also demonstrate to a potential employer that you are genuinely interested in the role.
What not to do in a job interview
What you don’t say in a job interview can be just as important as what you do. Below is a selection of interview faux pas that all candidates should look to avoid at all costs:
Don’t turn up late
Don’t wear inappropriate clothing
Don’t mention money in the first interview
Don’t pass on any questions or answer “I don’t know”
Don’t mention any unrelated career goals or part-time jobs
Don’t talk negatively about any previous job roles or employers
By having a clear understanding of what employers do and do not want, and how to go about making a strong impression, you can adequately prepare for your upcoming interviews so that they run smoothly and put you in the strongest possible position for being chosen for the role.
Ashleigh Harman is a digital content writer for a recruitment agency specialising in job vacancies and careers in compensation, benefits and rewards.