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Securing an interview for your perfect job is a great achievement and is your chance to really shine and show the employer why you are the perfect fit for both the role and their company. From making sure you research the company as thoroughly as possible to preparing for questions and having all your documentation prepared, our list of job interview tips below will help ensure your interview leads to a successful appointment and a great career.

Pink magnifying glass icon TOP TIP #1: RESEARCH THE COMPANY

A potential employer will want you to demonstrate your knowledge to them. Who are they? What do they do? How are they placed within their industry sector?

Look at their website. What are their values? What's their story?
What social media presence do they have? Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
Search for company updates by Googling the company name and clicking on the news tab.
Who are their competitors? Look on their websites.
Read trade magazines and look for industry updates.

Pink job description icon showing lines of text on a single page TOP TIP #2: READ THE JOB DESCRIPTION

This will enable you to understand what the position entails and ultimately what skills are required to be successful within the role.

Read through the job description, breaking down the skills and specific duties.
Think about how the detailed points relate to your previous experience.
Identify areas you don't have experience in to research and address them at interview.

Pink pencil icon TOP TIP #3: WRITE THINGS DOWN

Don't rely solely on your memory. The action of writing things down will help you to remember key points.

Make a note of any achievements, awards and accolades.
Write down examples that demonstrate your ability to match the skills and duties required.
Write down the skills and qualities that makes you the best person for the job.
Take your notepad. It will provide reassurance when faced with a hard question. Just don't read from it.

Pink icon showing man with shirt and tie and short hair TOP TIP #4: FIGURE THE FORMAT

Every organisation will have a preferred method of interviewing. It could be a one of two stage interview., telephone based or face tip face. Knowing what to expect will enable you to prepare so feel at ease whatever the scenario.

Who will be conducting your interview? It could be a line manager, HR advisor or even a director. It is important to adapt your style to each. Typically, a line manager will be looking for you to demonstrate the key skills and competencies that will enable you to succeed. A director will look at the organisational fit and the HR team are often process driven, making sure that every interview meets employment law obligations.
Ask the company about their interview process. What are the next steps should you be successful? What are the timescales involved? Have they had many applications? You will be surprised at the information you receive just by sounding polite and interested.

Pink question mark icon showing question mark in pink circle TOP TIP #5: COMMON QUESTIONS

One of the most common mistakes is not preparing answers to the most commonly asked questions at interviews. Here are a few questions that may sound simple to answer but getting them right is crucial.

For what reason are you leaving, or have left, your current job? Stick with the facts, be direct and focus your interview answer on the future, especially if your leaving wasn't under the best circumstances.
Why do you want this job? Be specific about what makes you a good fit for this role. You can discuss your transferrable skills and mention aspects of the company and position that appeal to you. This is your time to sell yourself and to show your enthusiasm for the company/role.
What are your salary expectations? Your answer to this one can be a deal breaker if you overprice yourself. Be realistic and do your research first so you know the market pay scale and what the potential employer is willing to pay.

Pink five-pointed star icon for the 'star' technique TOP TIP #6: COMPETENCY QUESTIONS

Competency based questions give employers an insight into tasks you have completed in the past. In a pressurised interview environment, you can find yourself waffling and giving unstructured answers. You can use the STAR technique to structure your answers. Formed of four areas, your answers should cover the following:

Situation: What happened? Set the scene about a situation which didn't go quite to plan.
Task: Tell the interviewer how the situation related to your role and what the objective was.
Activity: What did you do? Explain everything you personally did to rectify the situation.
Result: What happened as a result of your actions? Always give a positive outcome!

Pink speech bubble icon representing end of job interview questions TOP TIP #7: END OF INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

An interview is a two-way street. The employer wants to know the you're the best fit for them but are they the best fit for you? The end of interview questions offer a chance for you to ask the interviewer about the company, the management team and the position. To make sure that the role is really what you're looking for. It also demonstrates your interest in them.

What do you most like about working for this company?
What are the team like that I would be working with?
What are your top priorities for the person in this position during the first 30 days?
When can I expect to hear from you and what are the next steps?

Pink document folder icon TOP TIP #8: WHAT TO TAKE

Interviews are roughly 80% preparation and 20% how to conduct yourself. The more time you spend preparing, the better you'll come across. Ensuring you have the below will assist with your preparation.

A copy of you CV, well presented in a folder that you can leave with your employer.
Take a pen and a notepad just in case you need to note down anything important.
Prepare a list of questions that you can use as a prompt.
Ensure you have your references to hand (the last three employers).
If this will be your first job then take a personal or educational reference.
Directions and contact details of the interviewer(s).
Anything that will assist in demonstrating your ability such as awards, accolades, recommendations etc.

Pink location pin icon TOP TIP #9: KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING

You've completed all your planning and preparation. Now ensure you make the best first impression by knowing where you're going and giving yourself plenty of time to arrive feeling calm and collected.

Do a practise run at the same time of day as your interview.
Print out directions. Don't rely on a SatNav as they can take you to the wrong place.
Is there free parking or will you need to plan where to park?
Aim to arrive fifteen minutes early and take a few minutes to collect yourself and read over your notes.
Plan for longer than it should take. You don't want to be clock watching if you need to get back to work.

Pink tick icon showing tick in pink circle TOP TIP #10: FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT

Research shows employers make decisions about interviewees in under seven minutes. These top tips will ensure you are covering all bases to make a great first impression.

Interact in a friendly, professional way with the person who initially greets you.
Greet your interviewer with confidence, by name and with a smile.
Perfect your handshake... firm but not bone crushing!
Dress to impress but also to suit the company. Business attire with a suit jacket is essential.
Body language - don't fidget, sit up straight and ensure you make eye contact.
Turn off your mobile phone as interruptions will ruin the flow of the interview.

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