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How to interview well

We often get asked for hints and tips to show people how to interview well. In our experience, it doesn’t matter how many interviews you go to, there’s always room for improvement, and certainly, for refreshing knowledge and skills to help you do well.

It’s why we often run interview workshops offering our Members FREE advice about how to act and respond in interviews. These are particularly useful for returners or mums who want to go back to work after having a baby.

There are three main areas to consider when thinking about how to interview well. And remember, the fact you have an interview is wholly positive – it shows your cover letter and CV was well received, so put your best foot forward and go for it.

  1. Presentation and background – do your homework

This is as much about working out where your interview will be and planning your journey, as looking the part. Select an outfit to wear in advance of the big day. Make sure you feel comfortable and confident. If you need a haircut, that takes planning, but it will help you to feel good at interview.

Next up, do your homework. This includes knowing your CV inside and out, your cover letter and why you are right for the role in question and why the company would be a great one to work for. It all sounds obvious, but this is a crucial part of clinching the job.

If you haven’t found the company through us but want flexible working, how can you know if they will be receptive to this? Talk to people who already work there or who have worked there in the past. Perhaps throw the question open to networking groups if you can.

Think about why you want to be a part of this company and what skills you have to offer the employer. Also plan interview questions to ask ahead of the interview itself. We have a list of these on our website. The questions you ask will show you’ve done your homework about the company and that you’re keen.

  1. At the interview – think body language and smile!

When you arrive for your interview, make sure you make eye contact and shake hands with your interviewer. Body language is incredibly important, as is a smile. Try to be as relaxed as possible. Good preparation in advance of the interview will help you to appear relaxed, even if you aren’t deep down!

During the interview, listen to your employer and don’t talk over them. Take time with your answers and don’t rush what you say. It sometimes helps to take a deep breath before you speak. Always maintain your professionalism and ask good questions to show you’re interested. Try not to ask too many questions that are ‘you’ focused and not ‘company’ focused, i.e. don’t talk about annual leave just yet!

Shake hands again before you leave, and if you want them job, let the employer know that you’d like to hear from them before you say goodbye.

  1. Afterwards – when to hear about an interview decision

Once you’ve completed the interview, don’t forget to touch base with your recruiter if you found the job through one. Here at Ten2Two, we’ll be in contact to see how it went so we can feedback to the employer. This is a two-way process of course and helps the negotiation stages if a job offer is made.

Hopefully, the employer has given you a gauge as to when they will make a hiring decision. If not, you will have to wait and see, but hopefully it will be within the week. Sometimes it can take longer, so don’t worry if that’s the case.

We always say that interviews are numbers game and if you miss out this time, it will only be a matter of time before you do find the right role for you – so take heart. There are all sorts of factors that come into the hiring decision and many of these will often have nothing to do with you, so don’t take it personally.

All in all, the interview process can be slow going with different departments needing to align and managers coming together to decide. We say to allow an average of six weeks but it can take longer in our experience, depending on how many round of interviews there happen to be.

Hopefully these tips will help you to know how to interview well. The main thing is that you prepare well. Know your CV inside and out and know why you are applying for the role in question. And remember, breathe! Good luck!

4 min read