Let’s say you’re through the first stages of job application and you have an interview: what next? For some, the hard part is over because you’re great with first impressions. For others, the interview is the stumbling block; you know you’ll sweat your way through the hardest 35 minutes you’ve ever endured.
If that’s you, don’t panic! We’ve come up with some top tips for how to keep your nerves at bay.
1. Be prepared: People say it over and over but that’s because it’s true. ‘Blagging it’ isn’t a sensible option, and you’ll end up wasting both your time and the interviewers’. Do a few hours of Internet research on the company: their values, their conduct, and their financial policy. It pays to do your homework, as it shows the employer you are genuinely interested in the job.
2. Be on time: In fact be early; allow enough time so that if all goes to plan you will be 45 minutes early. You can always find a café or phone a friend for a pep-talk. Nothing’s worse than going into an interview all flustered because you rushed.
3. Be smart: If you’re unsure about the dress code, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Be smarter than you need to be; you want them to remember you and not your poor clothing choice.
4. Be up-to-date: There’s little point going to an interview and referring to things that happened five years ago. As much as past knowledge is good, current knowledge is better. If you’re interviewing to be a teacher, what recent governmental changes in the Department for Education are going to affect your job? If it’s hairdressing, are you aware of the latest trends and how to create them?
5. Be the best: Whatever the job, make sure you know the ins and outs of the specification. And have an example of your aptitude for everything on the list. Use a ‘just in case’ approach, as you can’t know for sure what they will ask. For example, if you are dealing with customers, think of a time when you successfully dealt with a difficult person. Be ready to describe how you went about it and why it worked.
6. Be honest: They may well ask you for a ‘strength’ and ‘weakness’ about yourself. Don’t try to suggest you have no weaknesses, because everyone does. The trick is to explain your weakness and then follow it up with how you are in the process of overcoming it.
7. Overall, the best advice is to be the person they’re looking for. You don’t need to pretend to be someone else – but the fact that you’ve got this far means you have something they like. Imagine who they want and show them that that’s who you are.
If however, you’re still feeling intimidated then CAP Job Clubs run a free course with specific interview training. As well as offering other tips and advice to help you in your job-hunting, the CAP Job Clubs offer the support and encouragement of other friendly job seekers. Facing unemployment can be extremely difficult, but you don’t have to face it alone. For more information check out capjobclubs.org or to book your place call 0800 328 0006.
Written by Kimberley Taylor