At SimkissGuy we want to do absolutely everything we can to help our candidates demonstrate those job winning skills that we know our clients are looking for. So we have prepared below our top ten tips to help you along the way. Remember, if you ever feel you need last minute support, you can call us at any time.
1. The Basics. Double check the date, time and place of your interview. Make sure you note the details in your diary and you are absolutely able to attend. It can be so easy to confuse dates, especially if you are attending more than one interview over the course of a couple of weeks! Most interviews take about an hour, but this can vary, so make sure you allow plenty of time. If there are any issues with the details of your interview then please let us know as soon as possible.
2. Research. It sounds really obvious, but can be easily forgotten! Fully research the company before you attend your interview. Don’t just have a quick look at the front page of the company website; make sure you understand what the business is all about. There is a huge amount of information that you can pick up to demonstrate that you have really taken an interest in the business. Here are the SimkissGuy golden rules for company research:-
How long has the business been established?
What service/products does the company provide?
How many offices and staff do they have?
What is the businesses’ unique selling point and core brand values?
Who are their competitors?
Where do they stand in their sector?
If you are going to be liaising with client/customers, who are they likely to be? What will their expectations be when liaising with the company?
Looks at the News and Events section of the website (if they have one), this can give you a great idea of what is happening in the business right now!
Does the company have a LinkedIn (www.linkedin.co.uk), Twitter or Facebook page? This can also be a great way to get to know more about the culture of the business.
Who owns and works for the company? If there is a “meet the team” section on the site, read it! It will give you a real feel for who your potential colleagues are.
Who is interviewing you? Try to find out a little more about them. Are they on the company website? Are they on LinkedIn? What’s their career background, how long have they been with the company?
3. The Journey. Planning is essential. If you are travelling by public transport make sure you know how long the journey will take, what train/bus times are best and which stop you need. How far is the company from your final stop? Make sure you know which direction to head in once you have left the bus stop / station. Aim to be 10 minutes early for your interview. If you are driving to your interview, take into consideration the time of day and impact this may have on traffic. We will let you know if there is free parking on site. If not, make sure that you know the nearest place to park and then which direction you need to head in. If it is a paid car park, make sure you buy a ticket that covers more than enough time for your interview and have enough change to cover the cost of the ticket! Again, allow enough time to make sure that you are 10 minutes early.
4. Dress Code. Always wear your smartest suit for interviews. Even if you think the company you are hoping to work for has a casual dress policy, it is nice to make a good first impression and demonstrate you have made an effort. It’s amazing how much of a confidence boost you can get by knowing you look really professional! For ladies, a trouser or skirt suit and blouse, or a work dress and jacket always look great. For gentlemen, a smart shirt and tie is always a winner. Be professional in your personal presentation; tidy hair, neat nails, polished shoes, minimal jewellery are always a safe option. Expressing your individuality is important, but you don’t want an interviewer to be thinking about anything other than your fabulous interviewing!
5. On arrival at your interview. Make sure your mobile phone is switched off throughout the interview! Good eye contact, a warm smile and firm handshake are really important when you first meet your interviewer. Thank them for taking the time to meet with you. Maintain good eye contact throughout your interview. Be enthusiastic when you talk about your understanding of the business and your experience. Let your personality shine through. Smile!
6. Communication. Give detail to your responses, be articulate, professional (no slang or swearing!), clear and concise. However don’t talk too much! It can be easy to lose your train of thought, especially if you are a little nervous, so make sure you are keeping to your point. Listening is equally as important in your interview, make sure that you fully understand the questions you are being asked. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for clarification on a question that you are not sure about.
7. Your CV. Make sure you know your CV. Be clear on your dates of employment and reasons for moving on from your previous employers. If you have any gaps on your CV, you may be asked about these. Think about your responses before your interview. If there is a period of unemployment, how were you spending that time searching for a new role? If you had a career break, what prompted you to do that? If you went travelling, where did you go? It is perfectly acceptable to have a copy of your CV with you in your interview for an occasional prompt, but it is best not to refer to it consistently throughout your interview.
8. The job you are interviewing for. Fully read the job description of the role you are applying for before your interview. Be able to demonstrate that you have a good understanding of the role and requirements. Again, feel free to take a copy with you to your interview for occasional reference. Be confident that you fully understand the day to day duties you will be undertaking, as well as any personal qualities and IT skills that the company may be looking for. Think about what each element of the role will mean to you. Be able to give clear examples of where in your work history you have demonstrated the skills, personality or attitude that the job specification highlights. If the role requires excellent customer service, be able to give examples of where you have really gone the extra mile for your clients. If the role requires excellent organisational skills and the ability to prioritise workloads, how do you do this, when in your career have you had to utilise these skills and what did that mean to you and your employer?
9. Know what makes you unique! Before your interview, think about your biggest achievements to date, which parts of your career are you most proud of? Where have you really excelled? What has been the biggest challenge in your career to date and how did you overcome that? What personality can you bring to the role? What difference will you make to the team? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? Where are you looking to be in 2 years’ time?
10. Any Finally! It is a great idea to prepare one or two questions that you would like to ask your interviewer, should you have the opportunity, at the end of the interview. Here are a few that we like:
Are there any areas of your experience that the interviewer would like further clarification on?
Ask your interviewer why they wanted to join the business and how their career has progressed? If it is a business owner you are being interviewed by – what led them to establish the business?
How could you help the company achieve its goals?
If successful, what would you expect from your first month in the role?
How would they describe the best people in the company?
What makes these people so successful in the business?
What are the company’s plans for the future?
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for a new employee in this position?
What will be the next stage in the process of my application?
Remember to end the interview with a handshake, a warm smile, eye contact and thank the interviewer again for their time. Explain that you are very keen on the opportunity of joining the business, you really enjoyed meeting them and that you hope to hear from them very soon!