So you've mastered the CV and conquered the cover letter but now for the real test - the interview. For some, but the uninitiated especially, this can be a daunting task. With practice though it can be mastered.
Graduates with less work experience will want to really take note of this part in particular, as there are still ways to impress your prospective employer, even with little work experience.
Hopefully you should have done some research into the company by now, for use in your cover letter. If you haven’t, it’s crucial you do so now. Knowing the name of the interviewer/s ahead of time is a must (and names of senior management/heads doesn't hurt either). Make sure you spend some time understanding what the company does. You know what it is you can do. And they know from your CV and cover letter what you can do. So how does this fit into the company and the role you’re applying for?
Research the industry of your prospective employer as well. Even a skilled/experienced candidate needs to stay in the know. You’ll be able to impress your interviewer if you can demonstrate your knowledge of what’s going on in the industry in which they operate.
But even the most experienced candidates won’t have heard every interview question. A great way to prepare yourself is through mock interviews with friends and family. Admittedly it can be difficult to prepare for those curve ball questions such as “what would the name of your debut album be?” (a genuine question that was asked in an Urban Outfitters interview!). If you find yourself faced with such a question, just remember it’s not what you answer that matters here. It’s how you answer it. So stay calm – the interviewer is expecting you to be thrown-off by this question. They’re testing how well you perform under pressure.
It might seem like an obvious point, but you’d be surprised at how many people turn up late to an interview. So make sure you arrive with a good 10 minutes to spare and dressed appropriately. Smart dress may seem like the norm but that’s not always the case. Again, make sure you've done your research about the company beforehand so you can make a judgement call on this.
Have all the necessary documents with you and be confident. If you've done all of the above, then you should feel confident. But we know this is easier said than done. Remember; deep breaths, be kind to yourself and power poses before the interview can all help to boost confidence levels.
Finally, the most paramount thing of all is ensuring you relate your work experience to the job description. (Hopefully you’ll have recognised this reoccurring theme throughout this blog series, as we can’t stress this highly enough!) Your interviewer will 100% ask you a question that requires you to do this. You've already done this in the cover letter so this should be easy. It helps to re-read the job description and your cover letter ahead of your interview, to remind yourself.
Where can you go for more advice? Recruiters are a great fountain of knowledge when it comes to knowing what to look for in a candidate. It pays for them to know how to spot a good candidate, literally! Make sure you use them as a way of testing your knowledge and interview performance. They will know whether or not you’ll be suitable for a certain job.