It's a great feeling when you have applied for a job, submitted your CV or application form and you receive a letter inviting you to interview. That's brilliant news, however in the current economic climate you may be among many other people who have also been invited to interview.
So how do you beat them and get the job you want? Follow my top tips to achieve interview success.
Start by doing some research on the company, the sector and the job. You could look at their website, ask for literature, read or watch the news, or research any recent articles or information on the company or industry. Ask your friends or family if they know someone who works for the organisation and ask for their help. If you take time to prepare, it will allow you to be knowledgeable during the interview and interested in the company.
Find out whether there will be an interview, personality assessment, skills or aptitude test, assessment centre, or presentation, and ensure you prepare thoroughly.
If you have to carry out a presentation, check that the organisation has the appropriate technology if required and take time to practice it before the day.
In most interviews, you will be talking for a majority of the time. The interviewers will ask you questions based on your experience, and may include questions about your strengths and weakness.
In addition, you may be asked questions based on competencies, such as people management skills and team working. These are questions based on situations you have experienced.
Competency based questions normally start as follows - tell me about a time... or will be an open question, starting with a word such as what, when, how.. To prepare for these types of questions, have a few examples you can use that you can adapt for different questions. You also may wish to prepare some questions that you can ask the interviewers at the end of the interview.
Interviewers are put off if a job candidate does not arrive on time, as it creates a less favourable impression. Also if they are seeing many candidates on one day, it can mean that the schedule of interviews goes awry. Make sure you are not one of them by planning your route in advance and allowing plenty of time for the journey. Aim to arrive early and if you do, you can spend time preparing for the interview. If for any reason you are held up, give the person a call and let them know that you are on your way.
Nearly half of interviewers are put off when job candidates do not dress appropriately for the interview. This includes wearing a suit or smart outfit where appropriate and making sure that you clean your shoes, as well as appearing presentable. Give yourself plenty of time to decide what to wear, and you may want to get your clothes ready the night before the interview.
It is a good idea to review the job description and take your CV or application form to the interview with you. You may also need to take certificates, references or examples of your work to the interview, so prepare these in advance.
People tend to make a first impression of you within the first few minutes. If you are not feeling confident on the day, ‘act as if’ you are confident. Take a deep breath and when you meet the interviewers, use appropriate eye contact, a firm handshake, and smile!
Much of the advice on our website has been kindly provided by local companies and organisations for which we are very grateful - could you offer some advice to our visitors in return for some free coverage on our website? If so please get in touch here as we'd love to hear from you.
We work with experts in and around our local area to provide useful information relating to careers advice - we hope you will find these articles to be helpful. You can view our news news archive here
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The University of Portsmouth / Portsmouth College / Highbury College
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Information on local newspapers covering Portsmouth
Example CV for people applying for jobs in Portsmouth
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