To help you prepare for interviews, here are some of our top tips (with pictures):
Before your interview…
Make sure you have appropriate interview clothes well before your interview. Check everything’s clean and ironed at least a few days in advance, in case you have to do any last minute laundry or clothes shopping! Once you’re suited and booted, avoid messy food or drink which could spill on you.
Try to predict questions by searching the internet for common questions relating to your job goal. You could try networking with people that already work in that role. Also think about questions you were asked at previous interviews.
Check your invitation carefully, they may ask you to prepare a presentation or bring identity documents with you.
Research the company. Interviewers often ask ‘What do you know about us?’ or ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ Look at their website and news-feeds. Follow them on social media. We recommend that you look at their values, vision or objectives, and try to show how you will ‘fit in’.
At your interview…
Arrive a little bit early to your interview (We’d suggest about 10 mins early unless you’re told otherwise). Plan your travel to ensure you are on time.
Remember to smile (but don’t be creepy!) Show your interest; make good eye contact and ask questions at the end of your interview.
Try to relax enough that your nerves don’t ruin everything, but don’t relax too much, you still want to come across as keen and professional.
Listen to the question carefully. Interviewers may not ask questions exactly how you expected, but your prepared answers could fit a range of questions, so don’t get flustered. Pause before you answer and think about which of your prepared answers fits best.
When answering questions…
Be interesting. Vary your tone of voice to emphasise key points. Avoid technical jargon or talking about complex processes.
Don’t be a mercenary! Leave your questions about pay, hours of working and time off until after you’ve received a job offer. When asked ‘why do you want to work for us?’ explain how well you will fit in with their culture and values, rather than focusing on what you’ll gain.
Avoid ancient history. Talk about things you did recently. This will be more impressive than things you did a long time ago.
Be extraordinary. You need to stand out (but in a good way!) Give examples of actions that went beyond just doing your day-to-day job.
Fit the description. When talking about skills, keep them relevant to the job. Read the job description. If they want someone with an eye for detail who can work under pressure, then why tell them you’re a creative person who loves learning new things?
Keep it ‘real’; we don’t recommend making up your answers, as a good interviewer will know if you’re fibbing. Be yourself, but be your ‘best self’.
Use STAR technique to help you answer to ‘competency’ questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. To find out more about STAR technique, read our blog-post: ‘Preparing for Interviews? You need to know STAR’
After your interview…
Seek feedback (and learn from it). If you’re unsuccessful, make sure you ask for feedback, so you can learn from any mistakes and improve.
Make a note about any unexpected questions to help you prepare for next time.
Remember: Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate. You may have your commercial awareness tested at interviews, so take an interest in your personal development, and keep your skills and knowledge up-to-date.
Need more help?
If you need help preparing, you can get in touch with MDXworks if you’re a current student or recent graduate of Middlesex University. We can provide you with more guidance and suggestions, provide feedback about your prepared answers, or even arrange a mock interview with one of our friendly team of professionals.
By Matt Lewis, MDXworks On-Campus / Online, Middlesex University
If you found this blog-post helpful you may also like to read ‘Perfecting your LinkedIn profile’.
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