Believe In Yourself And You'll be Unstoppable - Interview Tips And Preparation

A good few weeks ago I had an interview for a new role with my current company and without a doubt this was my most positive interview experience (yes, I got the job), this led me to writing this post of course. In short, interviews aren't easy. Well, some are much easier than others but how challenging you find them depends on you as a person. Are you confident character? Have you prepared for the interview and know the job role well or have you rocked up expecting to wing it. Fact is, it'll be difficult to wing interviews (although I know a few that have.) Prepare yourself before the date, but don't over prepare. Do not study or revise for this role like you're going into an exam. Find the balance, the middle-ground and you'll have nothing to worry about.

I've been lucky enough to have been invited to three interviews this year, two of which I got the job. Since I had my first job at sixteen I've had nine job interviews and eight of these interviews I'd taken the job. This year was the first time I'd been told I'd failed a job interview, okay maybe fail is a bit harsh. Sometimes you're just not the right candidate for the job or another candidate may have more experience than you - there's so many factors that could lead to this decision from the interviewers. If you are told you haven't been successful for a role just take this as experience and ask for feedback if you can. Learn from this, what went well, what didn't and see where you can improve for next time. 

Dress to impress, appropriately.  
Have your outfit planned before the day and dress with confidence. Look good, feel good. Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the role of course. Don't overdress or underdress. Be comfortable in what you're wearing too, that includes those high heels you might be considering - can you walk in those? Ensure your clothes are presented well too, take the time to iron and hang them out the day before. 

Understand the job role. 
Read the job description for the role you've applied for so you're aware of any questions your interviewer may ask you about the role itself. In my latest interview I was asked if there was anything  I was worried about or might struggle with after reading the job description. This wasn't printed or laid out in front of me to refer too, I had to remind myself from memory. It won't look all that great if you sit there with a blank face. 

This also applies to the company, do you know about the company you're applying for? Sharing knowledge of the business will show that you have taken an interest and of course done your research.

First impressions and body language. 
As important as your knowledge is for the role so is your body language. Remember this is (most likely) the first time you're meeting with these people, what you say and how you act will give an idea of what you are like as a person. This will be their first impression of you and you want to ensure  you come across as your best. 

Always be aware to make eye contact and if you have more than one person in the room engage with them all. I've only ever had one-two people questioning/taking notes but I was always aware of the both of them. Ensuring that when I answered I spoke to the two of them. It's important not to feel intimidated or overwhelmed if there's more than one other person in the room too. Remember why you applied for the role in the first place, you want a change. You've got this if you believe in yourself enough.
Timing is everything.
Arrive early to the interview. I don't mean hours early but a solid fifteen minutes at least. If you've got to take public transport to the location double check for any delays on that route too. If you're driving you may need a sat nav if you're not sure of the area. Have the full address written down so that you don't get lost on the way! For my last two interviews I've taken notes with me and spent a few minutes before going into the building just reading over these for them to stick in my mind. 

Give yourself enough time to get ready, leave and arrive early. If it's a route or an area you've not been to before you never know if you're going to take a wrong turn somewhere or jump on the wrong bus. Be aware and focused when you're taking the journey there. Don't panic or worry about what could you go wrong. Turn the radio up, put on your favourite music and relax.

Connect and engage with your interviewers. 
As well as eye contact make sure you're engaging with the conversation, staying focused and showing an interest. When you're asked a question don't reply bluntly or with no enthusiasm. Show that you're passionate about your career and the role you've applied for. 

At my recent interview I was asked about my university experience and what I thought about the course. Shortly after them both whether they had attended university and which courses they had taken. Turns out, one also studied Graphic Design too! Remember you're the one being interviewed, not them, but personalise your questions and you can be sure they'll take note on this.

Research but don't rehearse. 
Oh I cannot stress this enough, especially as I made this mistake earlier this year. Yes, this is for the role I didn't get. I read this job role over and over, I researched with every spare waking second I had.  I printed out a Q&A for myself about the potential questions and rehearsed these like lines for a play. Don't do this. Yes, research and understand as much as you can about the job but you want your answers to flow and come across natural. If you're sitting and trying to answer the question with your scripted response you'll forget your words and it will just be a shamble.

Glassdoor is a website I've used for research since I was given my first interview at sixteen. If you don't know about this site it's where employees and former employees can leave reviews about their company but what's really useful is the interview section. You'll be able to read up on questions asked at the role you're applying for, try it here.

It's all about what YOU can bring to the role.
There's going to be plenty of people that can do the role you're applying for but what can you bring to the role? My blogging experience really helped me to land my new job. Think about it, blogging requires you to be organised, I deal with data (insights) daily, engage with the blogging community around the world, manage several social media platforms, create original content which includes drafting, shooting, product styling and editing. There's an awful lot that goes into blogging, this is just a brief overview. If you have an hobbies or previous experience which will enhance your interview, mention them! 

Have questions ready to ask.
Going back to engaging with those in the room with you, make sure you have questions to ask at the end. Truth be told it looks pretty bad if you have nothing to ask at the end. Asking questions shows you're interested so prepare one or two before you head to the interview. For mine I asked how they introduce new starters into the job and also one thing that they both liked and disliked about their role. Many of us always want to know the salary, if this isn't displayed on the job advertisement, but perhaps ask instead about progression. Is there a lot of opportunity for progression? What's the hierarchy like for the role you're going into? There's plenty of choice in regards to what questions you can ask. Also, when finishing off the interview and heading out don't forget to thank them for their time. The interview might be over but you want to leave with them with a great impression. 

Hopefully these tips help if you're wondering how to best prepare for an interview. Stay positive and remain confident, you'll do just fine. Most importantly, good luck! x

What's your opinion?