Interview Basics

Having worked so hard to reach interview point it is important to make sure you do not slow down now – your interview has been arranged and (hopefully) you have plenty of time to prepare. Here are some key basic considerations:

  1. Check the location of the interview – seems obvious but I have known candidates to print a map and head off on the day not really knowing where they are going. You do not need to be adding stress to your day, if possible – make a trip to the offices a few days prior, ideally at the same time of the interview so you can gauge public transport, traffic etc. and know exactly where you are going.
  2. Research the business and the role thoroughly – do not walk into your interview blind of what it is they do. The most common welcoming question from an interviewer is; “what do you know about us?” You need to demonstrate your interest in the business by knowing at least who they are, what they do and who their main competitors are. Ideally you should also know a little more about their recent activities. All this information can be gained from their website and also perform a search about them, see what others have to say.
  3. Dress to impress – at the very least, ensure you are wearing smart office wear. Preferably a suit should be worn even if the organisation has a dress down policy, first impressions last and for a formal meeting you should be smartly attired. Leave the fashion statements at home – I have known candidates to wear eccentric accessories which were frowned upon by the employer. Put yourself in their shoes – if they were to place you in front of a valued customer, they need to know you can brush up well to make a good, professional impression.
  4. Make sure you compile a good list of questions to ask them (look at this previous blog re interview questions) – there is nothing worse than a candidate who states that they have nothing to ask. It not only displays a lack of interest – it doesn’t say a lot about you as a project person.
  5. Practice what you want to say – having researched the organisation and job you will be aware of what is attractive to the employer, make sure you consider examples of work you can discuss which will gain interest from the interviewer. Make sure you take a structured approach to talking through the examples. Don’t be afraid to let your personality come through; do not fall into the trap of being wooden.
  6. Remember the interview is two sided; do not feel intimidated, you are effectively meeting the prospective employer to gauge if you wish to work there as much as them determining whether you are right for them.

Most importantly – enjoy, too much emphasis is put on pressure to perform. Once you can embrace the fact that this is a meeting you will be able to approach the situation in a calm way. Nerves are the biggest interview killer so harnessing the nerves and looking at the circumstances rationally is key to ensuring you have a positive and enjoyable (yes, enjoyable) interview.

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