There’s a company in Melton Mowbray that’s looking for someone to work in digital marketing, but because of a shortage of suitable candidates it is now offering  £1,000 for applicants to turn up to an interview! You MUST watch the news footage!

Regardless of whether you go for his digital marketing job or any other job, just hearing the word ‘interview’ can strike fear into the strongest of hearts.

After all, nobody enjoys a good grilling! A great CV may help you get an interview but it’s your performance at the interview that will help you land that job.

Here are 5 sure fire ways to help you prepare, present a positive impression and come across as a serious contender:-

1. Do your research

Go through the job description and highlight he key responsibilities of that job, Maybe things like motivating team members, solving problems, growing sales, managing a budget and so on – think of examples of when you’ve demonstrated these skills.

Be ready to talk about your knowledge, experience, abilities and skills. Have at least three strong points about yourself that you can directly relate to the company – and in particular to the job on offer.

Knowing that you’ve done your homework and that your answers relate to the role for which you are applying will make a big difference to you appearing confident, switched-on and professional.

Also, make note of the questions that you want to ask the interviewer or any points you’d like them to clarify. Remember: a job interview has two sides: you are also making a choice (if successful) about whether the new job is the right one for you.

2. Be early

Never be late! It’s important to arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time for a job interview. Before the day, check where you’re going, how much travel time you need, and where you’ll park if needed. Work out the logistics ahead of time so you ensure that you’re not late and can arrive unhurried and composed.

Allowing yourself a bit of extra time will give you the opportunity to stop  in the rest room and freshen up, if need be, to make sure you don’t have any hair, makeup or wardrobe malfunctions. You can also use this time for a final check over the job description, your CV or the questions you want to ask.

These few extra minutes will also give you the opportunity to catch your breath and stay calm. An interview can already be stressful – and much more so if you’re rushing to get there on time.

If you

If despite your planning you still find that you’ll be late for the interview, then as a minimum courtesy, you must telephone ahead as soon as possible to apologise, let them know of your situation and expected time of arrival. Be honest – don’t make up extravagant stories about trains running late or holds ups on the motorway. These can be very easily checked!

3. Be yourself

To assess how you might fit in at the company, the interviewer wants to see the ‘real’ you and get a feel for you as a person and your personality.

Your interviewer will be thinking about what it could be to work with you, so the last thing they’ll want to hear is you moaning about an ex-boss or colleagues behind their back.  Interviewers want to meet people who are upbeat and positive.

Show energy, a sense of humour and smile. Remember that enthusiasm is contagious – however, so is a lack of it! If you don’t appear excited about the job opportunity, the interviewer won’t be excited to hire you. It’s alright and good to communicate your interest in the position.

Start from the point that the interviewer knows nothing about you. Even if you’re going for an internal role, use the interview as a blank canvas to paint a picture of your skills, achievements and fit for the role.

Don’t be afraid to highlight anything you feel is relevant to the role – this is your opportunity to showcase what value you’ll bring to them, don’t waste it by being overly modest or shy.

4. Be concise

Don’t waffle! Your preparation should have already primed you to think about the questions you’re likely to be asked in relation to the job role and how your experience matched with this. So make sure you just have some concise and relevant answers for these.

The more time you waste rambling answers the more you’ll switch off the interviewer (lose that rapport) and the less time the interviewer will have to really find out about you. Expect the unexpected – your interviewer may try to catch you off guard with a killer question. It’s impossible to plan for every question such as ‘How would your colleagues describe you?’ but try to appear relaxed and in control. Ask the interviewer to repeat their question if necessary, but do not evade it.   

Answer all the questions succinctly and fully – even if you need a few moments’ silence to collect your thoughts. It is always better to ask for a second to think about your answer rather than to speak instantly and regret it afterwards.

Think twice before guessing! If you’re asked a question to which you simply don’t know the answer, be honest about it, the interviewer will probably appreciate your honesty and may even ask you to have a go at answering it anyway.

5. End strongly

Final impressions are lasting impressions!

By this point, the interviewer needs to have no doubts in their mind that you fit the bill. The final impression you must make is significant in reinforcing the positive messages you have sent throughout the interview process. Ending the interview gives you a final opportunity to let the interviewer know why you are the right candidate for the job.

Normally near the end, you’ll be asked by the interviewer is you’ve got any questions for them. This is a great chance to shine out and demonstrate your knowledge of the job, company or industry. For instance, you could maybe refer to an article about the industry and ask for their opinion about it and how they think it might affect their business –rather than asking the usual standard questions asked by everyone else.

There’s an art to asking your own questions but also some rules. You want to keep things positive here and focus on ways in which you can contribute to the company, rather than what you can get from it. Avoid asking about salary and benefits at this point. You’ll have plenty of time to cover that once they’ve made you an offer! Now is the time to make sure that offer actually comes.

Make sure you ask the interviewer if there is anything else they need to ask you about – this demonstrates your confidence – and gives a poor interviewer one final chance to ask the question they’ve forgotten or maybe check their understanding of something you said earlier.

Is there anything else you would like to know about me?

This is a hugely important question. Listen carefully to the interviewer’s response. The answer could be priceless because it directs you to areas where you may need to reinforce what you have to offer.

Don’t be afraid to ask about timescales – when can you expect to hear if you’ve been successful or not?

It’s always better to choose rather than to be chosen! Tell the interviewer why you are interested in the company and job opportunity. Ask them for a business card and follow it up promptly by sending a “thank you” email or letter saying how much you enjoyed meeting them and how interested you are. Take the opportunity to detail the added value that you will bring.

In the end, gather your belongings calmly, stand smoothly, smile, give good eye contact and shake hands after the interview is over. Be respectful and thank the interviewer for their time. Exchange the necessary pleasantries and leave, chin up.

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