Job Interview Tips

Interview tips from the experts

Having spoken in depth to key industry figures, it is clear that the goal of any interview is to persuade the employer that:

  • You have the skills and experience required for the role
  • You will fit well into the team
  • You are adaptable enough to be managed and fit into the company culture
  • You will blend in and work well with the team

It's important to see your interview not in Q & A terms but treat it like a sales pitch - and what you are pitching are your skills, experience and personality. You'll have an hour at the most to sell yourself and prove that you are the best candidate for the job. So, before you go into an interview, remember:

  • Exactly what the employer is looking for
  • That essentially, you are selling a product - and the product is you
  • To reinforce what it is you have that will meet their requirements
  • You have one chance so don't blow it by being unprepared

Eye contact

Other tips employers give is to maintain eye contact during the interview. You need to fully engage with the interviewer so keep regular eye contact when listening to questions and replying. This will show you are serious about the position and help establish a rapport with the person interviewing you. It also illustrates that when dealing with that company's colleagues and clients, you will communicate well with them.

Body language

Employers tell us that body language is important during an interview. It's important you make good eye contact and offer a firm handshake (where appropriate) and a friendly smile when first meeting the person interviewing you. During the actual interview don't slouch in your seat. Sit upright and be keen and alert.

Try not to fidget or shuffle in your seat. If you have a choice of seats, make sure you sit where you can clearly see all the interviewers. You don't want to have to be turning your head to address a particular person every time you answer a question.

Job interview advice

Coping with nerves

Many people suffer from interview nerves; it's only natural. The best way to cope is to be totally focused beforehand on what you want to say in the interview and mentally rehearse. Be very positive during the interview and concentrate on what makes you a great candidate.

Remember, the employer is already interested in you; you have the skills and experience needed, so enjoy meeting the interviewer and finding out more about the people you could be working for.

Take a few deep breaths to compose yourself before the interview and stay calm. Don't rush your answers or be ponderous with your replies to questions. Listen carefully to the questions being asked and answer clearly and concisely.

Don't show your nerves

Shaky hands? - don't let your hands show your nerves as it will make you look weak. If you're aware that your hands shake, cross them firmly and rest your forearms on the edge of the table or fold them onto your lap.

Tea or coffee?

If you're offered a tea or coffee, politely refuse, as this causes an awkward delay to the start of the meeting. A cup and saucer clutter up the table and if our hands are a bit shaky, it could be embarrassing. By all means, request a glass of water if your throat is dry, as this is easy to prepare and less fiddly than tea and coffee.

Get some sleep

Sounds obvious but if you're nervous, you probably won't have slept much the night before. Which means you'll arrive at the interview tired and looking the worse for wear. Your concentration levels will be affected and your ability to perform to your best.

Mentally prepare

Before you arrive at reception to announce yourself, find a nearby park or coffee shop and mentally prepare yourself. Take a few deep breaths and go over in your mind the points you wish to make and how you will respond to the questions you know are coming. Mentally rehearse the interview from greeting the interviewer right through to conclusion. Think positive and remember, they wouldn't have invited you to an interview if they didn't believe you had the right skills and experience, so you've every right to feel positive about the interview.