Congratulations on securing an interview! Having got this far you’ll probably be focusing on the type of questions you may get asked, or which areas of your experience you may need to expand on. But don’t forget there is more to an interview than simply answering the questions. Here are some interview survival pointers to consider, some of which may seem glaringly obvious, others perhaps not so. As part of our job interview coaching, we go over various points such as:
Be punctual. This goes without saying. Plan your journey carefully, keeping traffic jams and other potential delays in mind. Aim to arrive ten to fifteen minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin, and call ahead if you think there is a chance you may be late.
Look the part. Be as smart as possible; a suit and tie for men, and a business suit or a skirt and blouse for women ideally. Wear minimum jewelry and make-up, shoes should be polished, and your hair should be neat. Men, make sure you are clean-shaven – or, if you have a beard, trim it to perfection!
Come prepared. Every interviewer asks what you know about their company. So do your research! Investment bankers, you must be able to demonstrate your commercial awareness – read the FT at least twice per week and know your current affairs – Europe, China, the Eurozone crisis. Marketing Managers – know what campaigns have been particularly successful for other companies. Anyone searching a new job needs to be aware of what is going on around them and be able to discuss it thoughtfully and with depth. Think about the technical questions you may be asked – ask City CV for help.
Be modest (but not too modest). Nobody likes a bragger, but it is important that you don’t sell yourself short either. When talking about your accomplishments, be sure to mention the positive impact you have made on previous companies, but keep it relevant to the role.
Don’t generalise. Be sure that you are able to back up everything you say with an example, as many interviewers use competency-based questions, i.e. they like to hear about specific occasions when you used certain skills to overcome a challenge. Learn the STAR technique.
Be gracious. When asked about your previous positions, speak respectfully. It makes an incredibly bad impression if you talk about how little you were appreciated or how everyone hated the boss.
Be honest. Don’t just regurgitate whatever it is you think the interviewer wants to hear. If they ask you where you see yourself in 5 years, answer truthfully.
Stay positive. Interviewers often ask candidates to state their weaknesses as well as their strengths. If you have to talk about a negative area, try and put a positive spin on it, e.g. “I used to struggle with blank aspect of my work, but through recognising the issue and working to overcome it through training, focus and commitment, I feel confident that this is now becoming a strength / has significantly improved.”
Be yourself! Let your personality show, and tell the interviewer exactly why you are the right person for the job
Don’t stop when the interview ends. Leave the interview on a positive note; let the interviewer know how much you enjoyed the experience, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.
Want to learn interview survival tips? Here’s how you can contact us:
City CV can help with all aspects of your job search: from a new, standout CV, to individually tailored job interview coaching, to help with technical application forms. Call us today on +44 20 7100 6656, enquire here or email [email protected].