Recognize the feeling? Having an interview for a new job can be extremely nerve-racking and many of us lack the self-confidence to just rock up to an interview and be super-efficient and suave. With jobs becoming increasingly competitive and industries looking for graduates or employees who can be specialists in their field from day one, the pressure is on to nail the interview.
Stand Out Before The Interview.
Why not add a creative twist to your job applications? When you hand in your CV consider handing in a wristband with your name and a few buzzwords relating to your skills on it. If you are planning to work for a creative business this will make you stand out from the crowd and will ensure that you are remembered right from the get go.
If the business is more corporate then try making up some networking cards and pop those in with your application form. This will make them see that you have made an effort to think outside of the box, which could be the fresh approach they are looking for.
You’ve handed in your application form and you’ve been invited back for an interview – but how do you stand out from the other people that they have called back? Here are some tips to make sure you come up trumps.
Do Your Research.
As with anything in life; before you take the plunge it’s always good to be sure about what you are getting yourself into. Make sure that you do your research on the company, what services or products they offer and what the working atmosphere is like. If you think that you won’t fit in from the start, it’ll be hard to come across enthusiastic about the job you are being interviewed for.
Have a good look over the job description, your application form and the job advertisement before you go into your interview, just to refresh your mind on what they are looking for.
It’s not that hard to predict what questions you will be asked in an interview, you can prepare answers for these in advance to help ease your nerves a little. Some of the most popular ones are:
This is a chance for you to really show off all that wonderful research on the company, how they operate in comparison to their competitors and what the benefits of working for them are. It does require some leg work – but is sure to impress.
These questions mean digging up an experience from your CV and really placing emphasis on what you did as part of that team to make your outcome a success. No doubt you will encounter competency based questions during your interview – aim to use the CARE model (Context, Action, Result and Evaluation) to ensure you give a detailed answer. Sometimes you might not need to evaluate your actions – but it is best to show you are always developing your skills and thinking about ways to improve.
Hypothetical questions are usually harder to answer as you would be trying to explain what you would do, rather than what you have done. An easy way to answer this question is to use an example from the past where you have been in a similar situation. Although the situation is hypothetical, the skills required to deal with it might already be listed in your CV, it’s just a case of picking the right one.
A twist on the conventional “what are your strengths?” question; this can require a bit more thought. Here consider using an example of a weakness that you used to have but took steps to reduce. For example, you were particularly bad at Microsoft Excel so you took classes to help you understand how to use it better. It would help your future employer know you are always looking for ways to develop things you are weaker at. Don’t say you don’t have a weakness – no-one is perfect.
Ahh the classic end of interview question! Interviewers have said that the person who asks questions at the end of an interview is more likely to be remembered than someone who doesn’t. A good way to remember to do this is by listing things that you could potentially ask your interviewer on a piece of paper. When the interview ends – pull out your list, tick off anything that they have answered, and ask anything that they haven’t. If they have successfully answered your questions tell them “I had a few questions, but you’ve answered them, so that’s great.”
If you have done any unpaid work in the past, try to highlight this in your interview. Focus on times when you have helped charities and aided fundraising events; use these experiences in a way that really promotes all the skills that they are looking for. Volunteering for something means that you are determined and goal driven when it comes to fundraising highlight your ability to work as part of a team and explain how you came up with creative ideas for raising the money that charity needed.
Don’t get put off by the people sitting behind that desk, remember to be positive and relaxed, by getting nervous you won’t be doing yourself any favors. After all it is about being yourself – let your personality shine, you wouldn’t have been invited back if you weren’t good enough. Good Luck!
Vicky works with Top Wristbands who have supplied printed wristbands for interviewing purposes in the past. She enjoys writing business and charity promo themed articles and keeping up to date with all the latest business news.