‘Hi Chantal. I received your follow up letter and thanks for the interviewing tips. I have got an interview with ABC at the end of the month so they will come in handy. Thank you!’
CC (Mechanical Engineering Student)
You’ve got the CV…
You’ve got the covering letter…
And now you’ve got the interview!!!
RED CVs can help you get there. Here’s some further help with how to prepare for your interviews.
PREPARATION, PREPARATION, PREPARATION…
It is difficult to over prepare and the more knowledge you have and preparation you have done – the more confident and relaxed you will be.
Prior to the interview:
- Confirm your attendance! This is also a good chance to check what format the interview will take, who will be interviewing and how long it will take. This will help you know what to expect.
- Read over the application that you submitted along with all of the information that they sent you. This is often the starting point for an interviewer. Think what they might ask, put yourself in the interviewer’s position, what stands out?
- Do your homework. Swot up on the company. Get a copy of their annual report, brochures, press articles, industry publications and browse their website. Try to gain a picture of the company history, its prominent figures and performance and make a note of new developments / projects it is involved in. You might even like to call and speak to someone in the department to which you have applied. Talking to current employees can be invaluable – try calling at the end of the week when people are almost always winding down and thinking of the weekend and are often more inclined to lend you their time and chat with you!
- Visit the premises. Not only will this ensure that you know where to go and how long it will take, but you can observe how people act and are dressed. Recruiters think 3 main things – can this person do the job, will they do the job and will they fit in. Given that we all judge each other by our appearance within 5 seconds of meeting your ‘look’ is crucial. Try to mirror what the others are wearing – if you see an abundance of blue suits – then opt for the same – you will look like you fit in straight away. Many companies now have a dress down code, but opting for a suit or a smart conservative look is still the safest option.
- Once you have chosen your outfit, get everything ready the night before – it’s less to worry about on the day. If you have bought a new outfit then wear it beforehand so that you feel comfortable and relaxed in it – rather than all starchy!
- Plan your route for the day. Aim to arrive about 15 minutes early so that you can calm your nerves, remind yourself of any key points that you want to make and perhaps even talk to and build some rapport with the reception staff. Plan your travelling, allowing plenty of time for delays – there are links to UK street maps, the AA route planner and train timetables from our links page.
- Avoid being hampered with belongings on the day and just take a couple of good quality copies of your CV, your references sheet, the company information and a note of any questions that you have in a pristine folder, so that you look professionally prepared.
- Do a mock interview. Ask a friend or colleague to interrogate you with a series of likely questions – this gives you a chance to practice out loud and get some real time human responses from someone who knows you well and can give honest feedback. If you have to prepare a presentation, practice it over and over until you almost know the words by heart. Time it so that you have the length just right and try practicing in front of a mirror to see how you look.
- Have some intelligent and relevant questions in mind that you can adapt on the day to demonstrate genuine interest and that you have listened to what’s been said. Contrived questions tend to be a little obvious – so this is one to play by ear. You might ask for example about future developments and how they think these will affect your role, or why they are recruiting – what happened to the previous person (if applicable).
Remember that an interview is an opportunity for you to gauge whether the job and company is right for you too.
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