Student life

The Dos and Don'ts Of Your Interview

Job interviews are nerve-wrecking affairs that can leave you struggling to make a good impression at the time you need to most.

I remember my internship interview very well, and remember feeling like I was being interrogated by some higher government official. But it needn’t be so, and with a little preparation you’ll find the confidence to keep your head high and woo your interviewer.

Do some practical preparation

If you’re a smart cookie, you’ll have prepared yourself for your interview by rehearsing good interview answers and researching the company thoroughly as well as the job description, but it’s vital that you do some practical preparation as well. Find out where your interview is being held, how long it will take you to get there and leave enough time in case something goes wrong, which will most likely happen if you don’t do the above!

Do dress smartly

According to the National Careers Service, in the first few minutes of meeting only 7% of your interviewer’s opinion is based on what you say – the rest is based on how you look, act and how you say things. A smart outfit not only looks good, but also makes you feel professional and confident.

Do keep eye contact and smile

Once you’ve sat down, sit up straight, look your interviewer in the eye and smile. Maintaining eye contact shows that you are confident and engaged in what’s going on, and smiling shows that you’re relaxed and personable – no one wants to work with a misery guts! Also, when your interviewer is regaling stories about the company or even their own experiences, make sure you subtly acknowledge what they’re saying by nodding in agreement.

Do rehearse some questions to ask

The person who says “Uh…no, not really” when asked if they have any questions for their interviewer is doomed. If you have nothing to ask, you’ll come across as lacking interest, and a bit on the dim side to say the least. Think up some things you genuinely want to know (and we don’t mean how much your salary is going to be!).

Don’t be disrespectful

You want to look good to your employer, so don’t do any of the following: be late, swear, slouch in your chair or lean on a table, look at your phone, chew gum or turn up smelling of cigarettes.

Don’t criticise former employers or colleagues

Even if your previous boss was a monster who made your life miserable, being critical of them in your interview is a big no-no. It will mark you out as a troublemaker and a gossip, which no employer wants, so save your venting for home.

Don’t let nerves get the better of you

A few nerves are normal and expected, but if they seriously get in the way of your interview you need to take control. Try breathing techniques to calm you before you get in there and try to keep some perspective – it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get the job. And if you don’t, ask for feedback so you can hone your interview style and feel more confident.

Don’t talk too much

Of course, you should answer the questions that you’re asked, but don’t bang on ceaselessly and don’t stray off the point. Answer questions fully but succinctly, and don’t try to shoehorn in something that you think will impress them if it isn’t relevant to what they’ve asked.

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