Interviews are a nerve racking experience for everyone especially if you’ve already fallen in love with the role. There’s no quick fix for banishing your nerves, but I’ve picked up a few tips about how to feel more confident in an interview and consequently how to impress your interviewer.
1.Apply for jobs you actually care about
This may sound quite simple, but it can be an issue for some people. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to wait around for their perfect job and it can be easy to fall into the routine of just applying for any position. If you know what industry/ role you want to go into, try and stick to applying for similar jobs. This way you’ll actually be passionate and interested in the role and want the job for the right reasons. Employers can tell when a candidate is genuinely interested in a role because they are animated and talk easily about the industry and their passions.
Try talking about any hobbies you have related to the industry, for example if you were part of the Maths Society at university and are applying for a finance role. At the end of the day, companies want to employ people who are passionate and knowledgeable! Plus, you’ll feel confident because you’ll know what you’re talking about.
2. Prepare for any tests/ assessments
In the finance industry it is extremely common for applicants to take part in an assessment centre as part of an interview, made up of a number of tests including numerical reasoning tests. Companies will let you know if you have to take part in these assessments beforehand so make sure you prepare! There are loads of online practise tests out there. We have many on our website. Employers find it extremely frustrating when capable and good candidates fail assessments due to bad preparation!
3. Know about the company but don’t recite their bio word for word
There’s nothing worse than not being unable to answer the questions ‘What do you know about our company’ and ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ These are predictable questions and so are easy to prepare for. Read up online about the company if you don’t know that much about them. Also check press releases on their website and see if they have been in the news (for good reasons) and pick out a few things they are doing that particularly interest you. Employers will also be impressed if express your own (positive!) opinions on what they’re doing and will instantly know if you’re learnt their bio word for word.
Remember to prepare some questions for the end of the interview – these can be based on your research of the company!
4. Dress well
It’s the rule of thumb that the dress code for interviews is smart. This means a suit, shirt, smart dress etc. and no trainers! If you haven’t got anything smart in your wardrobe now’s the time to invest. This may sound expensive, especially when you’re unemployed, but shops like Primark and H&M have a good work range. Try and just buy a few staple pieces that you can reuse. This way you’ll feel confident and look good in your new clothes.
5. Be truthful
Recruitment has changed a lot over the past few years, so the advice your parents give you may not be as useful as they think. My range of advice stemmed from describing yourself with cliché words like ‘reliable’ and ‘team player’ to answering the question ‘What would you find most difficult in this role’ with ‘I’m a perfectionist , so not making all my work perfect.’ Even though these answers may be true, employers will hear them all the time. It’s best to be honest in an interview and come up with genuine and unique answers. For example if an employer asked, ‘What would you find most difficult in this role’ be honest and pick something on the job spec that you’re not best at, but that you’re willing to learn more about and improve upon. Employers want to employ someone who can do the job but also who they’d get on with, so remain professional but don’t fake your skills and personal traits.