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Top tips for successful interviews – Do your research

Do your research

As part of your interview you will be asked specific questions about the organisation. It is therefore essential you have done your research by searching the company website and other online sources such as LinkedIn or simply running a Google search.

  • Have a look at the company’s annual report, latest news and any events that have taken place, staff and structure;
  • Get a feel for the corporate style and culture;
  • Think about how your role fits within the organisation and relates to their mission and aims;
  • Browse relevant trade press and related websites to see whether there are any articles/information about your potential employer;
  • Look at the latest developments in the industry as a whole to demonstrate your understanding of the sector;
  • Ensure you read the job description and understand the key skills and competencies that the organisation is looking for;
  • Think about when you have performed similar tasks so that you can demonstrate this at the interview.

Prepare yourself

Preparation is key to ensuring you interview with confidence.

  • Know the time, date and location of the interview and who you should ask for upon arrival;
  • Know the name and title of the interviewer;
  • Plan your route and allow plenty of time for travel;
  • Dress smartly;
  • If you are asked to bring a passport, certificates, reference details, ensure they are ready well in advance of your interview.

Potential questions:

  • What do you know about the organisation? Give a few examples from what you have gathered from your research;
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Focus on strengths that will enhance your ability to perform in the role. Weaknesses should be forgivable, or at the very least you need to explain how you have overcome them. Saying you have no weaknesses demonstrates lack of awareness;
  • What are your key achievements from your previous role? Give one or two clear examples of what you have achieved. Don’t start sentences with ‘WE did this or WE did that’. Focus on you;
  • What experience do you have from previous roles relevant to the position you are interviewing for requires – and when you have carried out transferable skills/responsibilities;
  • What are you looking for from your next role?;
  • Think about your motivations and what you are looking to achieve. If it is just more money, think about a way to convey this positively – perhaps talk about progression opportunity. It is important that you tailor your answer to what you know the organisation can offer;
  • Have a mock interview with a friend based on the questions above.

Positive body language

  • Be well mannered and positive to all staff you encounter;
  • Try to relax but remain confident in your preparation and ability;
  • A firm handshake and good eye contact will make a positive impression;
  • Speak slowly, concisely and remember to smile.

Ask questions

It is likely you will be asked whether you have any questions at the end of the interview.  Always prepare a minimum of one or two questions for your interviewer to demonstrate your interest in the position or organisation. For example, ‘What training is offered?’ or ask about the organisation’s plans for the next two months. Try and demonstrate your research on the company through the questions you ask.

After the interview

  • Ask when a decision is to be expected and what the process is from here;
  • Be proactive and follow-up any interview and always ask for feedback;
  • If you have made any promises to follow up with additional information then make sure you include this;
  • At the end of the interview, thank the interviewers for their time and reiterate your interest in the role.

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