Interview guide - Taking the stress out of interviews
So, you’re looking to progress your career and move in to a more senior role. You’ve found your ideal job, created the perfect CV and secured an interview – but what now?
Sitting in front of your potential new boss or a panel of interviewees fills many of us with dread but it doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. If you’re prepared, you’ll be relaxed and confident, you might even enjoy it!
Here’s our guide on how to prepare for an interview and make sure you’re at your best on the day:
Research the company
A favourite question amongst interviewers is ‘What can you tell us about this company?’ If you can confidently state facts, future plans or recent news it will put you ahead of the competition.
Visit the website before the interview and find out as much information about the company as you can. Most companies will have a useful ‘About us’ section and you may also be able to find information such as their vision, values and plans for the future.
The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
It’s extremely important to look and dress professionally for an interview, however some companies may have a more relaxed dress code than others. Ask your Brook Street consultant what the dress code is; turning up in a suit when everyone around you is in jeans might make you feel awkward. Equally, arriving in jeans to a corporate environment isn’t professional and will give the wrong impression – and first impressions count!
If you don’t know the dress code, a business suit or smart office wear is most appropriate and will make you feel confident.
Top tip: Don’t forget the smaller details. Ensure your hair is well groomed, nails are clean and tidy and your shoes are clean. It all counts towards that first impression
Have a mock interview
Your Brook Street consultant will be able to conduct a mock interview with you, giving you a chance to answer sample questions and rehearse your answers.
They can then offer you advice on your body language and eye contact.
If you feel uncomfortable having a mock interview in an office environment, ask a friend to help you. The more you practice the more relaxed you’ll be on the day.
Top tip: When you’re in your interview, accept a drink if it’s offered to you. You’ll be doing a lot of talking and a glass of water can help. You can also use it as a prop to give you time to think of an answer if you need to.
Prepare your own questions
Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions of your own towards the end of an interview. This is your chance to find out a bit more about the role and the environment you’ll be working in and to make sure that this is the right job for you.
Prepare a short list of questions that could give you more information about the team and office environment, any training opportunities and what might be expected of you if you are offered the job.
Here’s an example of questions you could ask at this point of your interview:
- What is your induction process?
- Are there specific goals or issues that you’re hoping to address in the first six months?
- What qualities would you hope I bring to this role?
- What is the next step in the recruitment process?
- Do you offer a professional development plan?
- What do you like best about working for the company?
Questions to avoid
Try to avoid asking too many questions about working hours – there’s a risk you could come across as inflexible.
Focus on the role you are interviewing for, not on the chance of promotion, this will suggest that you’re not bothered about the current role. Instead ask about training and development opportunities in the future.
Unless it’s brought up by your interviewer, avoid asking about the salary or benefits. It’s likely that you are already aware of the salary and your consultant can liaise with the organisation on your behalf if necessary.
Lastly, don’t ask questions that you could have answered yourself. Preparation is key and you risk looking lazy or unprepared if the answer could have been found on the company website.
Prepare to succeed
Top tip: Prepare for the interview the night before. Plan your outfit, print off additional copies for your CV, get directions and plan your route. Are you going via public transport? If you’re driving, how long will it take and is there somewhere to park? All of this will avoid unnecessary stress so that you arrive confident, alert and ready to get the job!