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Writing a successful application is just one step of the recruitment process. Next, you have to bring that application to life in an interview, whether it’s via the phone, online or in person. To help you prepare, here is our key advice for interview success.
Six simple steps to interview success
- Research everything - including the job, the company (the products/services they provide, the company structure and the market they operate in) and the people who will be interviewing you.
- Remind yourself of your application - review your CV/application and re-read the job description. Prepare examples of how your experience matches the skills required and consider what questions you might ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
- Plan your route – to save you stress on the day, plan your travel arrangements in advance including where to park if you’re driving.
- Choose what to wear – dress smart unless you’re told otherwise.
- Pack your bag – decide what to take with you the night before. It might be useful to take a pen, notepad, a copy of your CV, information about the company and anything else you have been asked to bring.
- Make a good impression – on the day, first impressions are everything. Greet the interviewer(s) with a smile and a handshake. Try to mirror their style during the interview by being formal if they are formal or informal if they are informal. After the interview, thank the interviewer(s) for their time.
Preparing for alternative interviews
The advice above is mostly focused on a traditional face-to-face interview however; you may need to consider some slightly different advice for alternative interview methods.
Phone interviews are often used as an initial screening method ahead of the face-to-face interview stage. Preparation is just as key to make the right impression at this early part of the application process. Plan where you will take the call – it should be in a calm and quiet setting where you won’t be distracted. Use this non-visual method of interview to your advantage by having your CV to hand and making notes on any questions you may have as the interview progresses.
Similar to a phone interview, you need to decide on the best interview environment ahead of your online interview. You will need a quiet, uncluttered space where you will not be distracted. Similar to a traditional interview in person, you will need to decide on what to wear too.
Spend some time before the interview practising using the video software and check that your device is set at the right height for where you will be sat. During the interview, imitate direct eye contact by looking into the camera rather than at the screen. Also, try and limit your movement as your connection speed may not be able to keep up.
An assessment centre is usually the final or penultimate stage used in the recruitment process and often involves the simultaneous assessment of a pool of candidates. Find out more on what to expect and how to prepare on our assessment centre advice page.