How to ace your job interview

Even the most experienced of people can crumble under the intense pressures of a job interview. Here are some takeaway tips to impress your potential future employer
by Bethan Rees

According to a 2015 report by Glassdoor jobsite, titled 50 HR and recruiting stats that make you think, the average job opening attracts 250 CVs and only four to six applicants will be called in for an interview. So, if you do find yourself in this privileged position, here’s three points to consider before the big day. 
Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail
It’s seemingly obvious that you should prepare for a job interview, knowing the basics of the company, the role and perhaps have a pitch ready to express just how good you are at your future job. However, there are some difficult questions that could potentially cause you to falter. 

In a blog for Glassdoor, journalist Jillian Kramer reports that Steve Pritchard, human resources manager at insurance comparison site Cuuver, warns against the innocence of the question: What’s your dream job? 

Pritchard says this could be a look out for the employer or recruiter to see if you are “firing off applications for any job you see listed”, so he recommends preparing an answer relevant to the role you’ve applied for. For example, if you are applying for a financial planning assistant role but you say “my dream job is to be editor-in-chief of Vogue”, the employer might think you’re not serious about this role. 

Prepare for the toughest questions you think they could ask, but also think about your answers carefully for the simplest ones.
Right on time Being late for an interview is what nightmares are made of. But is being too early a possible fault too? In a thread on social news aggregator Reddit titled 'Employers of Reddit, what mistakes do people make during interviews without knowing?' one commenter notes: “Turn up early, but not too early. Basically, aim to get there 30 minutes before the interview, this is your buffer, then once you've seen you are in the right place get a coffee and chill for 20 minutes. Walk in ten minutes before the interview.”

Showing up just before the interview, five to ten minutes, will show that you are reliable and ready for the meeting. But turning up earlier could cause undue annoyance to employers. Whoever greets you may feel a need to ‘entertain you’ and constantly offer you another coffee, but you might also be interrupting your potential manager’s workflow for the day, which could be a bad way to start. It could imply that you don’t respect their time, as there may be a good reason they’ve given you a set slot.
The last question A lot of the time, an interview will begin to draw to a close, and the employer will ask if you have any questions for them. This is a good opportunity for them to not only genuinely find out if you have any queries about the role or company, but to find out more information about you too. It’s your final chance to impress the interviewer. 

Prepare for this inevitability beforehand. How you frame a question is important. For example, if you want to show off that you’ve done your research and read the most recent company report, rather than asking “What is the company’s most successful department?” or “How much is the business planning to grow next year?” try framing it in a different way. “According to your most recent quarterly report, the company’s revenues increased by 13%. What drove this growth, and how do you plan to sustain or grow it for the next quarter?” But be careful that you don’t ask a question that can be answered easily by looking at their website!

Job interviews are a certainty in most career paths and can be nerve-wracking, but with these simple tips, preparing to be a strong interview candidate is made that much easier. 

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Published: 29 Jun 2018
  • Career Development
  • The Review
  • Interview techniques
  • Career advice

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