How to: Nail an Interview
7 tips for interview success
Even for seasoned professionals, job interviews can be tricky. Because so much depends on good interview performance, it is easy to get stressed out and leave feeling like your nerves prevented you from showing the best version of yourself. So to help you prepare and present yourself well, we've created a list of pointers to maximise your chances of success.
Do your homework
For any interview, it is important to have researched the company ahead of time. This demonstrates to the interviewer that you are a candidate worth taking seriously and that you are committed to the process.
Go through the company’s About Us page and make sure you have a solid understanding of their history up to this point. Make a note of any interesting case studies or employee testimonials. Being able to point to specific examples from the company during your interview is certain to impress your interviewer.
Work out how you fit in
Look at the company’s Careers page and see how they sell themselves as an employer. How do they portray their office environment? What does the company culture look like? Are there any unique benefits they offer? What are their values?
It is likely you will be asked why you want to work at the company, and this will give you a solid foundation for a good answer.
Demonstrate that you have taken the time to understand the company’s values and its Employee Value Proposition in your explanation of why you will be a good cultural fit at the company.
Match your skills
Examine the job specification closely. What skills are the company seeking for this role? Think about how they align with your own abilities.
You want to show the interviewer that you have the skills required for this role – think of examples that demonstrate how you have successfully used these skills in the past. A good way to structure your example is by Situation, Task, Action and Result. Be prepared for questions that ask specifically about one skill, so have a strong answer for each one.
Prepare questions beforehand
Likely towards the end of your interview, you will be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. This is a good opportunity for you to clarify anything about the job or company that you are unsure about.
But it is also a form of assessment in itself – the interviewer wants to know that you’re thinking seriously about the role. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
What would a successful first six months for me look like?
What are the opportunities for progression in this role?
What would a typical day look like for me?
What do you think the biggest challenge in the role would be?
Where do you think the company is headed in the next five years?
Give short, focused answers
If you have prepared properly as outlined above, you are likely to have a good idea of how to respond to most questions asked in the interview. A frequent mistake, often made due to nerves, is to give rambling answers that go on tangents not actually relevant to the question. So when answering, try to stick to the point – what you are saying will have more impact if it is efficiently delivered.
Be punctual, polite, presentable and positive
The interview starts the moment you walk in the door, which should be at least 10 minutes before it starts. Plan your route ahead of time and give yourself plenty of margin for error in case there is a delay of some kind.
Make sure you treat everyone you interact with at the company, from the receptionist to the interviewer themselves, with respect. It is not uncommon for an interviewer to ask how a candidate behaved in the waiting area.
It may be something of a cliché, but ‘dress for the job you want’ remains true nonetheless. Find out the company dress code beforehand and make sure you are as presentable as possible.
Remember that body language is a key component of your communication. Keep your back straight and shoulders back. Make eye contact and smile often.
Be upbeat in your answers and avoid talking negatively about previous employers, even if you have had a bad experience. You can mention things you didn’t like about previous roles, but try to frame them in a positive comparison. For example: “I feel that in my current position I don’t have as much responsibility as I’d like, which is why I’m really excited about the prospect of making a step up and working here”.
Interviews are stressful situations, particularly if you have not experienced many before. It is perfectly normal to feel nervous. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly before you enter the interview.
However much you prepare, there is still a strong possibility that you get a question you aren’t initially sure how to answer. In this situation, your natural instinct may be to begin talking immediately, hoping you’ll figure out what you want to say as you say it. This is not a good idea, as the most likely result is that you give a rambling answer that is acceptable at best. Instead, ask for a moment to think about it. Particularly if it is a tricky question, the interviewer is likely to be more understanding than you’d think.
Camino Partners work with some of the highest-calibre brands in recruitment. To find out about the jobs we have available, or for some more general advice on your job search, get in contact today: