How to: shine in an interview

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In the latest of its “How to: Guides”, recruitment agency Vitamin T offers a step-by-step guide on how to make the best impact possible in an interview situation.

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In the latest of its “How to: Guides”, recruitment agency Vitamin T offers a step-by-step guide on how to make the best impact possible in an interview situation.

Interviewing for your dream job can be an intimidating process. These days there are so many different ways to conduct an interview, not just the standard face to face meeting. Many employers use an initial phone interview to screen potential candidates and it’s becoming increasingly common for hiring managers to interview candidates via video call applications, such as Skype and Google Hangout. Here are our top tips to keep you calm under pressure and help you succeed, no matter what format your interview is in.

Face to face

Make a good first impression – it’s not just how you dress, but your body language and punctuality too. Research by psychologists has shown that people decide what they think of you within four minutes of a first meeting.

Show your personality – who you are is just as important for cultural fit as what you can do. Be confident, but make sure that confidence doesn’t come off as arrogance.

Research the company – show that you’re prepared and that you have an interest in their business. That means knowing the company’s mission, their recent achievements and who is interviewing you.

Know your CV – this includes knowing what you’re looking for in the role and salary. Make sure you’ve reviewed your CV from start to finish and can speak intelligently about all the facts you have listed on it.

Prepare some questions – questions, for example asking them about their goals, shows you are as interested in them as they are in you.

Be positive – believe in yourself and your skills. Use positive phrases in your conversation as well as a direct eye gaze with your interviewer. Whatever you do, don’t bad mouth your old job or boss!

On the phone

Remove distractions: Make sure you have no interruptions during your call. Turn off the tv, don’t check your emails and make sure your flatmates or family know to give you some space.

Have your notes to hand: The great thing about a phone interview is you can have all the information you need in front of you. Have a copy of your CV for reference, any research you’ve done and questions you’d like to ask.

Don’t multitask: Just because your interviewer can’t see you, it doesn’t mean you can use it as an opportunity to make a cup of tea! Keep focussed on them and what they have to say.

Dress professionally: Don’t wear your pyjamas! It might be tempting, especially if your interview is first thing in the morning but just because it’s a phone interview doesn’t mean you can be unprofessional.

Don’t interrupt: It’s far more difficult to tell when someone has finished their sentence when you’re on the phone. Always take a pause before responding to ensure you’re not cutting your interviewer off.

Just breathe: Phone interviews can be just as nerve wracking as meeting someone in person, so try to stay calm! If you’re unsure about a question or need some more information then it’s fine to ask for clarification.

By video

Be presentable: Check what is in the background behind you and that it’s appropriate, dress as you would for a face to face interview and don’t sit too close to the screen.

Assess your surroundings: Make sure you have eliminated noise around you and turn your phone off. Try not to use your mobile phone for the interview as connections can drop out, always use a laptop.

Be prepared: Have a glass of water next to you and a pen and paper or digital note taking device ready. Make sure you triple check that your video service works before your scheduled call.

Concentrate and communicate: Make sure you keep eye contact with your interviewer and take pauses when talking. Don’t rush it! Let your personality show, a bit of small talk can be a good thing too.

Focus: Close your emails so you aren’t distracted whilst talking and if you are sharing screens, don’t have anything personal on your background. Stick to your time slot and be on time.

Need some more advice on getting your dream job? We’ve created a “how to” guide on all you could ever want to know when searching for your next role and we’ve just updated it with a brand new chapter with tips on upskilling, networking, pitching and more. And if that’s not amazing enough, it’s also free! Download it now at aquent.co.uk/lp/getting-a-job

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