So, you've completed the job application and you've been offered an interview, well done! Now let's focus on your interview skills to get you that new job.

Being Badly Prepared

In an interview you are going to be tested on a subject you know more about that anyone else in the world – YOU! Before you go, re-read your application / CV and the job advert. Make a list of things you’ve done, the challenges you faced and the outcomes you achieved so you have examples ready when they ask. Bring some bullet point examples with you to the interview so if you get stuck you can refer to them. 

You might like to read: A Beginner’s Guide To Building Your First CV

Lack Of Interest

Do some research online and on the company’s website to better understand them, what they do and their industry. Look for things that interest you and make you want to work with them that you can talk about at the interview. An interview is a two-way conversation so prepare some questions you can ask about them – the role, culture, what they enjoy most about working there, or anything else that will help you decide if they are right for you. 

Ring Tones

Please turn your phone off or to silent for the duration of the interview. If you have an emergency call coming through that you have to take, explain this to the interviewer at the start.  

Exaggerating

Be honest about your skills, experience and background. They are looking to learn about the real you and what you would bring to the company. It’s appreciated that there may be gaps or things you haven’t had an opportunity to do yet. If you think you’re missing something that you’re asked about, it’s OK to say you haven’t done that, or maybe think about how you would look at that in the future or what training you might need to get there. You don’t want to start a new job where they think you are an expert in something that you have never done! 

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Being Late

You’re probably not the only person being seen for the job which means the interviewer has a schedule to keep to and if that overruns everyone else’s interview will be delayed. You also don’t want to have to rush the interview and not get the chance to show why you’d be great for the job. Trains are delayed, cars get in jams and busses don’t turn up. Plan to arrive half an hour early or maybe more if its rush hour or far away (better to be sat in reception with a drink than on a bus worrying and far less stressful!). If you’re going to be late no matter what, put the company’s number in your phone so you can call ahead and warn them.  

Not Showing What YOU Did

Interviewers are looking to understand your experience, skills, ability and aptitude. Talk about your achievements, your accomplishments and what you did even if that was part of a bigger team. Interviewers want to understand your contribution so talk in the first person and when you’re saying what you achieved – say ‘I’ not ‘we’.

Why not take a look at: How To Prepare For A Job Interview

Some other things to try and avoid: 

  • Bad mouthing other companies – it’s unprofessional  
  • Being critical of people you worked with – as above and doesn’t show you’re a team player 
  • Name dropping – your friend’s cousin knowing the MD isn’t going to get you the job
  • Swearing – again, unprofessional and… just don’t do it!  
  • Not having any idea what you are interviewing for – if in doubt ask beforehand 

One thing you probably won’t avoid:  

Nervousness

Almost everyone, no matter if it’s their first interview or 100th is nervous in this type of situation. No good interviewer will think any less of you or mark you down for it. It’s a stressful situation and interviewers get that. Hopefully, they will put you at ease, but it’s OK to say you’re nervous and if you go dry and mess up, just ask to start over. 

Good luck, you’ve got this!

This article was written by the Head of Recruitment at GCHQ

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