If you're going to get that graduate job, you're going to have to go to an interview at some point! No matter the industry, company size or your skill level, you will eventually find yourself sat infront of a potential employer explaining why you are the best person for the job. Interviews can be daunting, especially if you don't know what to expect, and preparation is essential. You can never really be over-prepared for an interview - the more preparation the better! Before you attend the interview, make sure you’re clear on how it will be structured and who will be interviewing you. If an employer hasn’t provided you with this information, feel free to ask. Here are TalentPool's top tips for interview success
Do your research
You must thoroughly research first the company and secondly your interviewer(s). This should be your absolute starting point and it will be very obvious if you haven't put in the effort to do some extra reading.
The more information you know going into the inteview, the less nervous you'll be as you'll know you're well prepared!
Understand the industry
It's no good just saying that you're interested in a particular industry - you need to go beyond knowing one or two vague trends and actually understand the reasons behind them.
Here are some useful links to news article sites in different sectors to help you get started
Signing up to email briefings is also a fantastic way to help you keep on top of news in your sector ahead of your interviews. In particular, we recommend:
Go back over your application
Always remind yourself of what you wrote in your application form, or what experience you highlighted in your CV and cover letter, as the interviewer is likely to pick up on this.
Practice question answers
A quick Google search for 'interview questions' will bring up more than enough material for sufficient practice. Don't forumlate answers to every single one, instead focus on learning to think quickly and structuring your answers well. Even if the interviewer forgets exactly what you said, they'll remember how you said it. Figure out which situations (leadership roles, internships, extra-curriculars) you would like to discuss at interview and practice applying them to different questions.
Weakness questions: these are likely to come up and you should give an answer. Do be honest but don't make anything seem like a cause for concern. Think carefully about how you're wording your answer - remember to describe how you're working on improving your particular weakness.
Have a question prepared to ask
It is inevitable that at the end of the inteview your interviewer will ask if you have any questions. Having a good question prepared shows that you are interested in the company. If you're stuck for ideas it's always worth asking about the office culture of the interviewer's background. Don't be afraid to be yourself even if the interviewer is very senior - it's good to make a bit of small talk and humanise yourself.
Dress the part
The way you dress will have an impact on the interviewer's perception of you, working towards determining whether or not you are a good fit for the company. Check out our Interview Dress Guide to determine what outfit is appropriate to wear to your next interview.
Arrive 15 minutes early - seriously! If you have no commitments that day, go even earlier and sit in a cafe beforehand to go over your interview preparation notes and compose yourself. You really don't want to be in a rush and if you're late then it's pretty much game over. Make sure you've planned your route and allow for transport delays, cancellations, traffic jams and bad weather! If it's a phone or Skype interview be ready and sitting at your desk with time to spare. Remember that the interview starts as soon as you walk into the building. Be as engaging and friendly to the receptionist as you will be to your interviewer.
Cancelling or re-scheduling
If you can't make the interview for whatever reason you must email and call the interviewer as soon as you can to apologise and re-schedule. The interviewer won't mind as long as you took action and the cause was unavoidable. Just not picking up the phone, however, may well cause you issues with other employers - remember that companies know eachother!
After the interview
Make sure you bring a notebook with you so that you can jot down any important points that came up in interview for reference straight afterwards. Make sure you also follow up with a quick email a few hours later to thank the interviewer for their time and that you're looking forward to hearing from them.