Careers advice

How to shine at interviews

Although many people find them to be a frightening experience, interviews are a crucial step in the hiring process. An employer can discover more about you, your qualifications, and your experience. You get the chance to highlight your suitability for the position and show why you are the best applicant during the interview.

It is vital to understand how to prepare for and excel in an interview whether you are seeking full-time work, an internship, or a part-time position. Here are some pointers to help you succeed in your upcoming interview.

Before the interview

It’s imperative to prepare before going to an interview. If possible, this also involves researching the company, the position, and the interviewer. You may better customise your responses and demonstrate how you would fit within the organisation by being aware of the company’s values, mission, and culture. For further assurance that you are aware of what the company is seeking, you should check the job description and requirements.

It’s also crucial to practise responses to interview questions. This might make you feel more prepared and confident and ensure that you can clearly communicate your abilities and experience. Typical interview questions include:

  • Can you tell us about yourself?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What experience do you have in this field?
  •  Why do you want to work for us?
  •  Can you describe a difficult situation you faced at work, and how you handled it?

You can feel confident in your responses during the interview by practising your responses to these questions.

With the help of our career advisers, you may practise your responses in a mock interview environment and get advice on how to perform better in the actual interview.

Dressing appropriately for the interview is also crucial. You should dress a little more formally than required by the workplace. For instance, you might choose to wear a suit or a dress if the workplace has a business-casual dress code.

During the interview

Making a solid first impression is crucial throughout the interview. This involves being punctual, being kind and sociable, and making and keeping eye contact. If appropriate, extend a handshake and express gratitude to the interviewer for the chance.

Avoid rambling or veering off-topic when responding to queries. If you need a moment to collect your thoughts before responding to a question, that’s acceptable. Be truthful about your background and abilities, but also make sure to emphasise your best qualities and how they meet the needs of the position.

Be ready to ask the interviewer questions as well. This might help you discover more about the position and demonstrates your interest in the position and the firm. Good questions to ask include the following:

  • What are the biggest challenges facing the company right now?
  • Can you tell me more about the team I would be working with?
  • How does the company measure success in this role?
  • What opportunities are there for growth and advancement within the company?
  • What do you enjoy most about working for the company?

After the interview

Following up with the interviewer is crucial after the interview. This can make you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your ongoing interest in the position. Within 24 hours of the interview, you should thank the interviewer for their time and reiterate your interest in the position in a thank-you email or letter. Additionally, you can use this chance to ask any other questions you may have since the interview.

Some final points to remember

Even though job interviews can be intimidating, you can feel more confident and raise your chances of success with some practise and preparation. Do research about the organisation and the position, be ready with responses to common inquiries, dress professionally, and make a strong first impression. Answer questions during the interview succinctly and clearly and be ready to quiz the interviewer. Reiterate your interest in the position in a thank-you email, or letter sent after the interview.

This Blog post was written by Ogochukwu Ben-Izegaegbe, Postgraduate student and Skills Ambassador for the Library, Careers & Enterprise service.

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