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Successful Interview – A Recruiter’s Guide for Candidates (Part 1)


“Besides getting several paper cuts in the same day or receiving the news that someone in your family has betrayed you to your enemies, one of the most unpleasant experiences in life is a job interview.”
Lemony Snicket, The Carnivorous Carnival    

Everybody has a story about their worst job interview, whether your mind went blank or you risked a joke that went down like a lead balloon, but hopefully few tales are quite so bad as receiving “several paper cuts in the same day”! However, do have faith, the horror stories can stay just that – stories. The Earl Street team are here to help! Follow our top ten tips (in two parts) for interview success and those pre-interview nerves could be a thing of the past…

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1. Do your research

Prior to the job interview make sure you know about the industry you want to work in and what the firm stands for. Don’t just scan the “About Us” section on the company website, go the extra mile and look through any case studies on the site, check out their social media and ensure you have a basic knowledge of the company history and values. This will make questions like “why do you want to work for us” so much easier as you’ll have a working knowledge of who the company are and where they are headed. If there is a particular company that you are keen to work for it can be a good idea to set up Google Alerts so that you have all the latest news relevant to your dream job.

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2. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Re-read the CV you sent with your application so that any questions about it or errors you’ve overlooked don’t come as an unpleasant surprise. It is also a good idea to memorise the key points of the job description and the job advert before interview so that you don’t ask questions about the role that are already detailed in the application materials. In terms of preparing for questions its often helpful to think over what makes you the best candidate and why you are employable and to think how you can use these facts to flexibly answer questions. It can make things a bit clearer if you write out bullet point lists of your skills and experience so that relevant anecdotes are fresh in your mind. However, remember to answer the question the interviewer asks, not the question you have rehearsed for!

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3. Look the part

It’s always advisable to make a good impression (in person or online) when meeting someone new and job interviews are no different. Make sure that you are dressed professionally and that you look tidy. Try to have an early night in and get a good rest the night before, yawning your way through an interview isn’t very endearing! On that note, make sure you’ve had some breakfast or lunch and are well hydrated so that you aren’t distracted by a rumbling stomach or parched lips.

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4. Don’t underestimate the power of body language

Research from Goldsmiths University suggests that smiling, eye contact, and nodding will get you far in the interview game and it is important to try to appear attentive. If you look like you are really listening, responding and reacting to the interviewer it will be clear that you are not simply going through the motions but are really interested in the opportunity they are offering. Active listening is important for an online interview as other body language signals may not be as obvious.

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5. Do you know where you are going?

It sounds obvious but it is crucial that you plan your travel route to the interview location in advance. Make sure you know how long it takes to get to the office and who you have to report to when you get there. There is nothing that heightens pre-interview stress like running through side streets desperately searching for an office complex! To avoid a last minute panic give yourself plenty of time and arrive early.

Part 2 with the next five tips coming soon!

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