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Tips for attending interviews

Posted by | 4th August 2015 | Apprenticeship News, Career Advice, Information, Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Uncategorized

Tips for attending interviews

It can be scary when you go to your first interview but by taking advice and following these tips you can survive.

What does it all mean?  If you’ve been invited to an interview it means that ‘on paper’ the employer thinks that you could do their job.  The interview process is for the employer to meet with you and usually to compare you to similar candidates and choose the one they think will perform the best and fit in with their team.

Remember it’s a two way process – not only is the employer deciding if you’re ‘the one’ for them, you are also judging if they are the right employer for you.  It can talk some of the pressure off to think that you’re interviewing them too.  You need to be able to picture yourself in that workplace and imagine how that would feel.  If you get an opportunity to look around and meet some of the current staff remember to smile and look interested, they could be your future work colleagues!

What shall I wear?  The number one tip for dressing for interviews is to go smart.  Wear the smartest clothes you have, if you don’t have a suit a nice clean shirt or top with smart trousers/skirt is fine.  Don’t wear your best ‘going out’ outfit – short, tight and figure revealing does not generally go down well at interviews.  Unless you are going for a job to work in a nightclub then please don’t go dressed to go on a night out.  Smart, clean and neutral smelling is perfect.  If you smoke then please don’t have a cigarette just before you go into the building, remember mints or gum and wash your hands.  It might be helpful to have a look at what other employees are wearing so try to check out people outside of the building before your interview to get an idea of dress code or look on the company website.  If you are interviewing for a job which involves hygiene – such as food handling then please make sure your nails are clean and your make up/perfume is subtle.

Where to go, don’t be late! – Make sure you know where you’re going and how long it will take you to get there.  If possible do a trial run, make sure you know where to get off the bus or where to park.  Allow a bit of extra time for traffic on the day.  You’ll not make a good impression if you arrive late for your interview and you may not get seen at all.

Feeling nervous?  – You are likely to be nervous before and during the interview – this is perfectly normal so long as you don’t become too stressed.  Take a few deep breaths to calm down.  Some nerves are great as it shows you are keen, if you come across as too calm you may look disinterested and bored.

Make a great first impression – you only get one chance to make a first impression.  Make eye contact, introduce yourself, shake the interviewers hand if it’s offered and remember to smile J

Questions, questions – during the interview you are likely to get asked questions about the ‘competencies’ needed for the job – these would have been in the advert or job description and about the information you provided on your application or CV.  Make sure that you have copies of all these things and read them before your interview.

Any questions – at the end of the interview you will usually get the opportunity to ask your own questions so be ready with at least one good question.  Take it with you on a piece of paper if you’re likely to forget.  Think about questions relating to the job, future prospects, when you can expect to hear from them, try to avoid questions about pay or holidays.  If your question(s) have already been covered during the interview then just say that, otherwise you’ll come across as not paying attention.

Finally, Good Luck!  Just do your best and don’t be too disappointed if you’re not successful first time.

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