TOP TIPS FOR ACING AN INTERVIEW
Having worked in TV for 4 years, where each freelance contract/job tends to be on average 6 – 8 weeks long, I am very used to going to interviews for new jobs. Now, I am by no means perfect in an interview, but so far.. I have been lucky enough to have been offered every single job – bar one, which definitely turned out to be a blessing in disguise… but that’s a whole other story – so I must be doing something right. Right? (Or it could be just pure luck but let’s not ruin my theory shall we…)
So when I was contacted by City Calling, an online recruitment company matching jobseekers and employers to the appropriate job vacancies – which includes positions at Superdrug FYI ladies; think of the 3 for 2 girls, think of the 3 for 2… – to collaborate on a post, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and do what I guess is my first ever “Tips” post. I won’t lie, this makes me
want to s**t myself slightly nervous as I am not the most confident person in the world – more on this later – so as a result, often put myself down and think that no one would benefit from my “tips”. Well, today I’ve grown some balls, today you are getting my top interview tips, and today… if something I’ve mentioned helps even one person, then I will be a very happy girl indeed.*
*And if doesn’t, feel free to just pretend that it has and humour me anyway? 😉
Time for the tips:
Do your research – This is by far one of the most important tips. The worst thing that you can do, is go to an interview for a job/company that you know absolutely nothing about. Research the company that you are going for a job with; find out as much as possible about them – the basics, the people at the top and odd little facts are great as you can drop them into the conversation and immediately impress the interviewer as they know that you care enough about the job to go and research it/remember the facts. Another thing I always do is look for people on LinkedIn that work in the same company, in the role that you’re going for. They’ll usually list their job duties which is so unbelievably useful as you can use this to relate duties from your own previous job/work experience roles, to the role that you’re going for. It makes you appear more than competent, experienced and makes you a sure contender for that role.
Don’t be late – Sounds obvious, right? (Yes Einstein, just a little…) but you wouldn’t believe how many times people have turned up late to interviews that I’ve held myself, and most of them with no apologies or explanation as to why. Turn up on time, in fact, I take that back… turn up early. I always do this and just add in a casual “Sorry I’m a little early, I gave myself extra time to make sure I wasn’t late” You’d be surprised how much employer’s will be grateful for this, and impressed by this.
Wear something smart, but you – For me, wearing something that I really like and feel good in for interviews is so important (#BloggerPriorities) because when I feel smart, but comfortable (i.e not my usual ‘dragged through a hedge backwards’ appearance) I instantly feel ready for the interview. If you suffer with confidence anyway, it helps to give you even the tiniest little boost. Stuck outfit-wise? A crisp white, or light blue shirt always looks smart, and if pencil skirts/more structured and uncomfortable pieces are not for you, a nice tailored, pinstripe trouser will pair perfectly. Add a smart – but neutral – shoe and you’re good to go.
Side note: A bunch of roses are not appropriate interview attire, they are simply for the prettiness of the photo. #BloggerProblems 😉
Hair and Makeup? Stick with what you know – Interviews are not the time to try out that brand new bright green eyeshadow you fancied trying at the weekend (clearly I’m talking to my 14 year old self there), stick to what you know and go natural. A bright, neon lipstick can be really attention grabbing and not in a good way. You want to be the girl that aced the interview, not the girl who looked like clown and had lipstick all over her teeth. Of course, if red lipstick is something your wear everyday anyway, then go for it. But if not, stick with a natural nude/”my lips but better” shade like Mac Patisserie for example. The same goes for nails, we all love a Beyonce blue colour from time to time but girl… save those for the weekend. Stick with a natural nude that looks sleek but sophisticated. Essie Ballet Slippers is my go to interview shade.
Turn off your mobile/anything that might go off mid interview – Another obvious one, but the last thing you want is your phone going off during in an interview, especially if it’s a *insert ghetto accent here* “Girl, you better check yo text” ring tone too. That’s never going to go down well.
Prepare for the age old, awkward interview questions – You know the ones, what 3 words describe you best? What are your weaknesses? etc. Be honest… I mean, if you’re a bit of a twat, try not to use “A massive twat” as your 3 words (If you’re like me, you may be at a bit of a loss after this but keep thinking, you’ll get there) 😉 Stupid jokes aside, if you’re not a hugely outgoing person, don’t say that you are. If you’re not particularly organised, don’t use this because you think it’ll sound great. If you do get the job, you won’t be able to keep up the pretence anyway, so just be yourself and think of what traits would work well for the job you’re going for. No matter what job you go for, being hard working, motivated and reliable will always be a huge asset to any role and any company.
For your weaknesses? This really is a tough one. The whole “I’m a perfectionist” “I’m a workaholic” thing is so overdone that it’s become cheesy, and to be honest, totally transparent. Don’t say that you don’t have a weakness because everybody does (well, perhaps not if you’re Blake Lively, or Olivia Palermo, or Cheryl cole, or… apologies, fan girl over) and it looks like you’re untruthful and unable to self-criticise. So give a real weakness, but also give examples of how you’ve overcome those in previous situations. End on a positive, always!
Prepare some questions to ask at the end – One of the things in a interview that I’ve personally struggled with in the past is thinking of relevant questions to ask at the end. Having no questions can make you appear uninterested in knowing more about the company (even though this could really not be the case), this is your chance to impress them but of course the questions have to be relevant (that puts the “Oh my god, what lipstick are you wearing? It’s so pretty!” option out the window then) Here are some of my favourite options that make you seem interested/
like you actually give a damn/like you actually really want the job:
- What skills/experience would you prefer to see in a candidate for this role?
- Is there room for progression in the company?
- What do you enjoy most about working here?
- What is the next step in the process, how long can I expect to wait until I find out if I have made it through to the next stage?
- How long have you been at the company for, what made you want to stay for so long?
If you’re not confident… fake it! – I’ll let you into a little secret (shhh, don’t tell anyone) I am probably one of the least confident people you will ever come across, however in an interview – according to people who have previously interviewed me and are now friends – you’d never guess. I think you can tell in the way that I
take the piss out of constantly laugh at myself, that I am not that confident in myself, but I know that for a lot of employers, the perception of confidence = competence, so if you’re like me, then you’re going to have to fake it. Hold your head up high, sit with good posture, give a good firm handshake – keep it clean you over there with the dirty mind – and speak clearly and confidently. I’m not saying put on an entirely different persona all together – Oh well, I’ll have to tuck my Sasha Fierce away for another time – I’m just saying be the best version of you… just with the confidence switch turned up a little.
Be you – Last but most definitely not least… be you! As I mentioned above, if you put on a totally different act, you will find it impossible to keep up said act if you actually get the job. Nobody knows what an employer is looking for, you could absolutely ace an interview but you just might not be right for the job at that time. The most important thing to remember is that everything happens for a reason, and what’s meant to be will always find it’s way.
Jesus christ, move over Martin Luther King! 😉
I would absolutely love to know what your interview tips are; what’s the best tip you’ve been given? Any tips here that you’ve found useful? I would to hear your thoughts.
As always, thank you so much for reading. I really hope you enjoyed this post and found it useful!
*This post was brought to you in collaboration with City Calling. As always, all thoughts are 100% my honest, genuine opinion.