How to handle a job interview

How to handle a job interview

Interviews can be stressful and difficult for a lot of people, even the most outgoing person can feel the pressure of being analysed as a candidate for a job and having to make a good first impression. To help you compartmentalise important elements of the interview process, High Performance Consultancy has written this guide to interviews to help you prepare and give you the best chance possible at landing the roles you’re interested in…



Consider what questions they’ll ask you –

Generally, all interviews will have some of the same basic questions. If you’ve have decent interview experience, then you can think back to them and set out clear answers so you’re not stuck for something to say.



If you’ve never had any interview experience then ask family, friends or look up some of the basic questions (They are likely to include: why you want the job, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and your relevant work and life experience). Once you define answers to these then start to think about more specialised questions this particular job may ask you. Think about parts of your CV that the interview will want you to divulge more on, for example your University course or previous jobs, prepare what you will add to these and always relate them to the role you are being interviewed for.



If asked about experiences or gaps in your CV skills (For example, how will you manage without degree level qualifications in this field etc) then try and relate a similar skill or perhaps one you’ve developed outside of work. It’s key to get across that you’re always eager to learn even if you have some skills missing. If you’re asked about your experience, talk about the Situation you were in, the Task in front of you, the Action you took, and the Result of your action (this Is called the STAR technique if you want to read about that in more detail:



Think about what you want to ask the employer at the end of the interview you can gain useful information while also giving the impression that you are conscientious. However, asking about pay or anything similar is a big ‘no no’ at this point. It goes without saying that lying in your interview will not help you and be easily spotted either in the interview, ending your chances of getting the job or when the interviewers check your references and do their final checks for the job. If you were fired from a previous job for poor performance, then explain how your standards dropped and how you have improved since then. If you left any roles by choice explain how you wanted a new challenge or issues you had long-term with past jobs.



If a certain question or questions catches you out in an interview, then make sure you stay calm and regain your composure. It’s fine to take time and go back to questions you are asked and have some thinking time, remember that this question probably caught other candidates out too. If your preparation has been done properly you have no need to worry because this will shine through in the interview.



Research your potential employer –

Linking on from some of the potential questions they might ask you, do your research on the company you’re interviewing for. Know what they do before you go in and what your defined role would be. Get a feel for the atmosphere of their company, is it a large business or smaller and family owned? Take advantage of the fact that most companies have websites and read up on them.



Make sure you have the address so you can search it on Google Maps before attending or if you get lost along the way. Plan your journey but overestimate the time it will take to get there, and aim to be 10-15 minutes early as punctuality is a key skills every employer looks for, being late for your interview basically ends your chances of getting any job. An important side note to your morning preparations would be to make sure you have a decent breakfast, cereal with some form of fruit and plenty of water will help you feel energetic, mentally awake and physically well. Getting lots of sleep is important so prepare correctly and get a good night’s sleep with no worries.



Appearance & presentation –

Unless absolutely specified, always wear smart attire as even if it’s a more casual workplace it can’t hurt to show up looking smart. Make sure you have clean, presentable and well fitted clothes that will help make a good first impression. Make sure you speak clearly during your interview and try to say as much as you can without waffling. However don’t be overly friendly, confident reaching arrogance, use vulgar language or be overly loud as it can come across as rude. Avoid negativity when talking about past experiences, paint a positive picture of yourself.



During your conversation make sure you make a good amount of eye contact and if you struggle speaking in these situations it is important to make sure you say enough, you don’t need to be an amazing communicator to say enough or what is necessary for you to get the job. Don’t answer with Yes or No unless it is appropriate, try to expand in some way on everything you say and as said previously relate everything to the role. Smiling during conversation also helps you look friendly and relaxed.



Arrive on time and without having to rush as it can seem unprofessional and may throw your other preparations into disarray. Be sure to take a notepad and pen, as well as paper copies of your info and CV, to look as prepared and studious as possible. This is one of the best techniques and employers are attracted to candidates they feel are conscientious.



Before the interview starts –

After you’ve settled in and come into the interview room, make sure your phone is turned off. Before the interview if you need the toilet make sure you ask and go promptly, needing to use the bathroom during the interview could make you distracted or fidgety. Take deep breaths while you wait to be interviewed to calm your nerves. Make sure you are breathing consistently, if you’re especially nervous then take slightly deeper breaths than usual and just take your time with things. If you feel nervous it is always a good technique to smile as it portrays a relaxed person and can help you feel more relaxed even if you’re stressed on the inside. If you are offered a drink, some water won’t hurt if you feel like you need hydration or even use it to give yourself some thinking time.



After the interview –

Never expect to get a job. Don’t take it personally and ask for feedback on your interview to help you improve for the future, it is unlikely you’ll get the one job you went for and be prepared to keep going to them and growing from each experience. If you are contacted by the employers and are offered the role then be polite and thank them for picking you. Agree on aspects like the start date and take notes of everything to make sure you start on a good a note as possible. If you are offered the job and can’t or don’t feel it is suitable, then politely decline as you might want to work with them in future. If you have to agree pay, always start high in your expectations, they will meet you in the middle if they really want you and value you.



So there is the High Performance Consultancy guide to interviews, good luck with yours and we hope this helps you land your next job!

For advice and guidance from a UK leading specialist in Employment law, HR and Health and Safety Services, please contact High Performance Consultancy.


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