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Interview tips and preparation

Have you got an interview coming up and not sure what you should do to prepare? The interview stage of your application is probably the most important and it is essential that you make the right first impression and give the interviewer a reason for taking your application further or offer you the role. We have asked our expert team here at Sellick Partnership for their top tips on preparing for an interview.

​If you have any specific questions regarding your next interview, please feel free to contact one of our expert team todayOr if you have an interview coming up and want to be prepared, download our guide to preparing for your next interview here

The average length of an interview will be around 40 minutes, but around a third of recruiters and hiring managers generally know if they will recruit a candidate within the very first 90 seconds. The majority of hiring managers have also stated that they reject applications for simple things such as not making eye contact, dressing inappropriately or walking into the room the wrong way. It is therefore vital that you make a great first impression from the offset.

Here are our top tips to make sure you stand out in your next interview.

Get everything ready (including yourself) before the interview

Preparing for an interview can make people nervous, however it is essential to be properly prepared. First and foremost it is important to make sure you know the exact details of your interview including where it is, when and where. We regularly hear about candidates that fail to turn up as they put the date in their diary wrong, so it is important not to be caught out.

Once you know where you are going and when, it is important to ensure you know how to get there and how long it will take. Look up public transport timetables and make the journey a day or so before, do a test run in the car and make sure you are fully aware of how long it will take to get to the destination of your interview. Once you have sorted out getting to your interview it is important to think about what you are going to wear. If there is a dress code it is important to stick to this, otherwise dress professionally. We would also advise getting your clothes ready the night before in order to save any stress on the day of your interview.

Conduct research ahead of your interview

Consider the type of business you are interviewing with – are they privately owned or a public company? Have they won any awards such as Great Place to Work®, or do they have any accreditations? By taking the time to look into this and referencing it in your interview shows how interested you are in working for the company and may help you to stand out from the crowd.

Research their main competitors, how they are viewed on the market, and the structure of the business (especially if they are part of a larger group). Be sure to fully look into the services they offer, even if they would not impact your role directly; showing an interest in the wider company will only be viewed as a positive.

To really get a feel for the company, use all the resources available to you at this stage. Try not to limit yourself to the company website and look at additional sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Glassdoor and even Facebook. These can all be valuable sources to gain insights into the company you are interviewing for.

It is also important to research yourself before attending an interview. We always advise candidates to memorise their CV, or take a copy with them to ensure they can easily explain their career history.

Sample interview questions

Make the right first impression

You should consider how to make the best possible first impression when attending any interview. Candidates should stand and sit up straight. Positive and open body language will show the interviewer that you are engaged in the conversation. It is also important to arrive early to ensure you are relaxed and have time to compose yourself. When you meet your interviewer for the first time offer a firm handshake and appropriate small-talk when entering the interview situation and always remember to smile!

Make the most of the time you have throughout the interview

When you are at your interview it is important to make the most of the time you have available. You will more than likely be up against a few other candidates, so you want to perform at your best if you want to secure the job. We always tell our candidates to engage with the interviewer as much as possible. Your interview should be a two way conversation, so it is okay to ask questions and speak about extracurricular activities and hobbies. This will give the interviewer a feeling for what you are really like, and by showing your personality you are more likely to stick in their mind when they are making their decision.

You should also try to develop a connection with your interviewer, so make sure you know their name, and use it during the job interview (If you are not sure of their name, call and ask prior to the interview, or ensure you listen very carefully during introductions). Employers will always hire candidates that they like so building up a rapport and ensuring you create a personal connection can greatly enhance your chances of getting hired.

What to do after your interview

Once your interview has come to an end you will likely be asked if you have any questions so it is important to think of a few beforehand. Asking questions will make you seem much more prepared, and can let the interviewer know that you are very keen on the vacancy. Some good examples are: 

  • If you have any advice for the successful applicant what would it be?
  • What do you like best about working for this company?
  • What is the typical career path for someone in this role?

Finally, it is important to be patient. Some companies may take time to make their decision, so do not pester them with emails or phone calls. Instead, keep in touch with your recruiter who will be able to discuss your application with the employer for you.

What next? 

For more interview tips and a rundown of the top questions you should prepare, visit our Candidate Resources section. Or, you can download our handy guide to preparing for your next interview here

If you feel you are interview ready and are looking for a new job opportunity, check out our latest live roles here. Alternatively, you can contact one of our expert Consultants today and they will be more than happy to help you with your job search.