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Interview Advice

Updated on April 29, 2017
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Laura is currently working in insurance, and has held previous positions in retail, horticulture, customer service and complaints handling.

Introduction

I want to share these tips with you, as I think these are the differences between going for an interview, and being successful at an interview. I have a 100% success rate for the interviews I have been for; I have had nine interviews, and got all nine jobs. I turned down one of these opportunities; don't forget, it's got to be the right job for you!

I remember one of my managers at a previous position telling me that I blew everyone else out of the water during my group interview for a position as an Internal Account Manager. She said my enthusiasm and attitude towards the job were very impressive. As I will go on to explain, it is those qualities that are admired and sought after from employers. So please, read below and see if these tips can help you.

Appearance

Image is very important when it comes to a job interview. The person/people that will interview you will be judging you; on the clothes you choose, on your general hygiene, and many other factors. They will have to work with you, should you be successful in the position, and these factors will ultimately help them decide whether they're keen on the idea or not.

Firstly, always wear smart clothes. For men, I would definitely recommend black trousers, smart black shoes, and a shirt. I would advise something like a jumper on top, but I would choose something simple, and plain. So no logos, or slogans. For women, it's most certainly more complicated, but this is mostly due to the sheer amount of options out there! You can't go wrong with a flattering, just above the knee length pencil skirt, or slim black trousers, a nice blouse, and a cardigan; usually black or navy work best. I would also advise you to make sure your shoes are appropriate, and would say that being smart and comfortable always give off the best impression. So, if like myself, you struggle in high heels, then simply don't wear them, and opt for some neat, clean pumps or court shoes.

I always aim to think 'appropriate' when I am choosing interview attire. Will I look suitable for the position I am applying for? It's helpful to tailor your look to the type of job you are trying to attain. If you are going to be working in a respectable office, then tight, revealing clothes won't give off the impression of someone who takes the position seriously. Of course, you must always wear what you are comfortable in, and this is purely my advice from previous experience, and the things I have been told by previous employers.

Personal hygiene is also one of the most important factors when it comes to appearance. I cannot stress it enough, but make sure you shower beforehand, and straighten up your hair. I would always opt for simple, natural make up, and make sure you have clean nails. I would advise not to go too heavy on the perfume either. If too much is worn, it can be overpowering, and too intense, especially if you would be working in a small, enclosed environment. No-one wants to drown in your perfume/aftershave every morning! Oh, and please, brush your teeth. Regardless of whether you have an interview, it should never be ignored!

Preparation

One of the things that show how keen you are as a potential employee, is how much research you have done before you have come to the interview.

It pays to check the company's website, and read about the things they do, and the way they operate. Make sure you know enough so that if they ask you a simple question, you would know the answer.
I.e " So Joe, do you know when the company was founded?"
Saying, "Oh yes, 1976", sounds a lot better than, "Ummm no, sorry I don't".

The difference it can make to their impression of you can be massive, and can set you apart from other candidates. I have been told from previous employers that it makes you appear interested and well prepared, and gives them the idea that you have taken this role seriously.

Another thing I would advise, is to make sure you know exactly where the premises are for the interview. There is nothing worse than leaving yourself plenty of time to get there nice and early, and then being late because you couldn't find your way. Make sure you know where you are going, and if you are really concerned, do a test run beforehand. It can make you feel less nervous on the day too.

I would also have a look at your CV and make sure you are fully familiar with what it contains. The interviewer may ask you something relating to something you have put on your CV and the last thing you want to do is sound like you haven't even read your own CV! Look at your strengths, and your weaknesses and prepare responses if they challenged you on any of these. For example, an interviewer might ask:
"So Joe, I can see you mention organisation as one of your skills. Could you give me an example of how you have used this in a recent position?". Thinking of these things in advance can help you to feel confident and in charge, rather than on the spot, and unsure.

One last thing; try not to be too nervous! There's no point stressing about how things might turn out. The more prepared you are, the less you have to worry about, and the easier the whole situation will feel.

Job interviews are tough, but they are an experience. Most employers want dedicated, enthusiastic and hardworking employees, and so it is best to show off these qualities, and concentrate on being employable as a person, as well as stats on a piece of paper.

And good luck!

Main Points To Remember

  • Look the part; make sure you have the right clothes for the role
  • Clean up! Make sure you look neat and presentable
  • Investigate the company, and have some facts and knowledge before you go in
  • Brush up on yourself; make sure you know your CV back to front
  • Be enthusiastic and show you are serious about the position
  • Smile, and relax!

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