This is it. This is the year you find your dream job… or at least some form of employment. After spending possibly months trawling through job sites and long-winded phone calls to the local recruitment agency, you’ve finally got yourself an interview! And now you’re freaking out about ruining it before you’ve even been in there five minutes.
Whether you’ve been to one or one-hundred job interviews, you know how stressful they can be, and how often you find yourself over analysing everything before, during and after. However, fear not! There are a few tips and strategies that you can use to take a huge weight off your shoulders before you go.
Research Research Research
Before you even leave for your job interview, you have to make sure that you are at least fairly knowledgeable on who you’re going to be employed by as well as the core values of the area you’ll be working in. For example, if you’re going into a social care position, think about what drives you to work in this sector and what’s important to people who work in this industry. If you’re working for a specific company, familiarise yourself with their website if they have one, to find out about all the services they offer. Make sure to check for social media profiles, especially Facebook or LinkedIn which should list any big news or awards that they’ve been given in recent times. Mentioning that in an interview will show that you’ve definitely done your homework and you go above and beyond when preparing yourself.
Making that good first impression
When you’re having a job interview you’ve probably heard time and time again that the first impression is key, but it’s a cliché for a reason. There’s more that goes into a good greeting than just a firm handshake, but that isn’t a bad place to start. The person interviewing you is going to be judging you right from the beginning, so make sure that you’re at least ten minutes early and that you’re dressed to impress. Even if the place you’re planning to work seems to have a more casual vibe, in this situation it’s always better to be over rather than under-dressed.
Also, when you’re making that firm handshake, eye-contact is key. You don’t want to shy away from your potential boss/co-worker before you’ve even got the job, so put on your bravest face before you start.
Common questions to prepare yourself for
Every job interview is different, but there are a few questions that 9/10 times you will be asked, so making sure you have a clear, concise and non-stuttering answer for them is extremely helpful.
- Tell me about yourself
It’s such a simple statement, but it can be one of the most difficult to respond to concisely in an interview. To avoid rambling and long awkward pauses, have a short answer prepared, perhaps just a few sentences about ambitions you have, your personality and maybe end with a couple of hobbies so that you actually sound like a human being.
- What is your biggest weakness?
This and its counterpoint ‘what are your strengths,’ can be hard to answer without trying to sound full of yourself. However, remember that you are selling yourself for this position, so don’t be afraid to hype yourself up a little. Try to give previous examples of how you’ve overcome hard situations, rather than making empty claims.
NEVER say that you don’t have any weaknesses. Not only is that statement obviously untrue, it gives off the impression that you weren’t prepared for such a question. Pick out a real weakness you have as well as a way to overcome it, showing that you have a plan to grow as a person and as a future employee.
- Why do you want to work for us?
Here is your opportunity to show off all that research you’ve done into the brand before you arrived. Mentioning real life achievements they may have made, as well as things you enjoy about the sector of work they specialise in is always a plus. Also, try not to badmouth your current employer or firm if you have one, a job interview is about moving up in the world, not dragging anyone down to get there.
- What is your salary expectation?
This question can feel tricky to answer.
‘If I say too little will I end up underpaid? Or if I ask for too much will they just not hire me?’
You don’t have to talk about a concrete number, most people are open to a salary range, and don’t feel bad about discussing benefits as well as holiday and sick pay options. Learning about those now will make you feel a lot better in the long run.
- Are you a good team player?
Even if you aren’t going to be working in an environment with a lot of other employees, explaining how well you work with others is a key skill needed across most industries of work. Again, think of some real-life examples where you’ve worked well as part of a team. Anyone can write that they work well with others on their CV, but being able to back up that claim is crucial.
Take a pen and paper
Even if you don’t think you’re going to need to need them, showing that you’re prepared to take notes can help demonstrate initiative in a job interview, as well as the fact that you’re always prepared. There’s always going to be an opportunity to jot down a few things, just make sure it’s not when you’re answering a question and that writing isn’t distracting you from anything being said.
Concentrate on the positives
When you conclude your interview, make sure to have at least one question prepared for them before you leave. Even if it’s something simple like ‘what have others done to excel in this position’ or ‘is there room for development?’ it shows your future employer that you’re already looking to learn about this job and will make you feel a lot better when you leave.
When you leave an interview, it can be hard to not fixate on things that you should have said, or answers you think you’ve messed up, but instead, try to focus on the positives of the experience. Interviewers are completely aware that every person they’re seeing is only human, and that humans will make mistakes, as long as you tried to give off the best impression you could, that’s all you can really do.
And even if you don’t end up getting the position, there is plenty to be learned even from a failed experience and just means your next job interview will be even better!
If you are interested in working in nursing, education or social care, then get in contact with The FRCE Recruitment Group via email, call us on 0203 846 7111 or register on our website for updates.