Nail Your Next Interview With These 20 Tips

A new job can be a life-changing moment – but you have to get through the recruitment process first. The interview stage is particularly key for any candidate. These 20 tips will help to ensure you nail it.

  1. Find out about your potential employer. It always pays to research the business you want to join, from its competitors to its USP and where it ranks in its industry.
  2. Practice the standard interview questions. Make sure that you’re prepared to answer the most common questions.
  3. Prepare your own questions too. At the end of the interview be ready to ask one or two questions to demonstrate commitment, intent, enthusiasm and knowledge of the business.
  4. Know your rights. Interviewers can’t ask questions that concern race, age, gender, religion, marital status or sexual orientation – if that happens, politely highlight the issue and don’t answer the question.
  5. Practice your answers. This will help to boost confidence on the day.
  6. Pre-empt screening obstacles. Interviewers may use a set of screening criteria to remove candidates from an oversubscribed process. If you can identify what these might be in advance and demonstrate why these concerns shouldn’t be an obstacle to you being hired you can avoid an early rejection.
  7. Bring your CV with you. Just in case the interviewer doesn’t have a copy.
  8. Nail the first five minutes. That’s when most interviewers make a decision – the rest of the interview is then spent confirming that choice.
  9. Be collaborative. A combative interview that feels like you’re both trying to get something may not end well.
  10. Be clear about why you want the job – and why you should get it. Start by identifying your selling points, such as great organisational or management skills or specific work achievements. Be ready to be clear about why you think this job is right for you, from the day-to-day role to the benefits and career path it offers.
  11. Don’t be afraid to reinforce what you’ve said. This is your only opportunity to get your selling points across.
  12. Remember how important body language is. A firm handshake, good posture and a smart appearance are essential.
  13. Be polite but firm. Take the initiative, especially when it comes to being forthcoming about what you see as your key selling points.
  14. Avoid negativity…. Even if the question is asking for information on experiences you haven’t enjoyed or tough situations you have experienced, try to find a positive (but realistic) way to talk about it.
  15. …Especially at the end of the interview. The way the interview closes will be key and ensuring it’s positive will leave you feeling good. If you’re given the opportunity make a concise but effective closing statement.
  16. Don’t worry about sounding over-prepared. You’re more likely to sound confident and articulate and it’s far better to sound prepared than not.
  17. Be wary of a “tell me about yourself” question. Don’t use this to go into your personal history, make it relevant to your selling points and why you want the job.
  18. Prepare examples for behaviour-based questions. These are becoming increasingly common and may cover, for example, unpopular decisions you’ve made or difficult situations you’ve faced.
  19. Follow up afterwards. A quick note saying thank you is often all you need.
  20. If the interview didn’t go well don’t give up. If you really feel like you’re ideal for the role it might be worth requesting a second chance.

Improve your success rate at interviews with these 20 top tips.