Whether it is your first interview or your 100th, we think they can always be a bit nerve-wracking. It can be hard to know what to expect in an interview. Taking time to anticipate what might come your way can help calm your nerves and also help you perform at your best.
Before the interview starts: show your culture fit
Whether you are attending an in-person or virtual interview be prepared to be professional before the questions start. If you’re attending in-person then arrive in plenty of time, check the travel beforehand if needed, as while traffic hold ups can happen doing your best to avoid them is advised. If you do get caught up in traffic, always call the employer or recruiter to let them know you may be slightly late.
Secondly, be polite to everyone you meet. Whether this is someone at reception or elsewhere in the building. You won’t necessarily be introduced to everyone along the way but this doesn’t mean they won’t feed back to the interviewer on their first impression. Think about where you are making an impression without realising it!
And if you’re on a virtual interview then maybe prepare some small talk, chit chat questions. Use these before the interview starts to break the ice and show your culture fit.
What to prepare during the interview?
This is the nerve-wracking bit. However, be rest assured, there are ways to prepare to try and settle those nerves. We’d recommend:
- Reviewing the job description. Can you anticipate what questions they might ask? And where you have gaps or different experience that you might need to expand on.
- Researching the company. What can you find out about them on social media? On their website? Or even through a general Google search? Think about why are you interested in working for this company? what might be relevant to the role you are applying for?
- Looking at your CV. What examples from previous roles might be worth talking about during the interview?
- Thinking about questions to ask them. You might find that your questions are answered during the interview. However, this is your opportunity to find out more, we’d recommend not asking about salary and benefits first and foremost!
If you’re about to have your first interview or it has been a while since your last one then have a look at the STAR method. This stands for Situation Task Action Result. Thinking in those terms can help you sell your experiences effectively.
After the interview: what to expect next?
Your interviewer should let you know what the next steps are and when to expect them. If not, then this is definitely worth asking. It might be that a second interview is part of the process. If that’s the case evaluating how you think the first went can be useful preparation. Depending on the organisation, sending a thank you note can be effective too or sending any portfolio examples you might have mentioned.
It might be that you are lucky enough to be offered a role on the spot. If that’s the case congratulations! But we’d recommend asking for time to consider and make sure the role is right for you. If this doesn’t happen, don’t worry. Check-in with the potential employer after a week or so to see the outcome. And if it isn’t the outcome you wanted then don’t burn bridges, but ask for feedback for future roles.
If you’re still not sure what to expect at interview, then have a look at our roles. We are here to help throughout the job application process and can help you prepare. Get in touch with Nicola at firstname.lastname@example.org or Annette at email@example.com to learn more.