Advice Centre

10 Steps to Smashing an Interview


Benchmark Recruit Career Advice, advice-centre

Interviews can be a scary prospect, especially if you aren't prepared for them, so here's 10 tips from our specialist team to get you ready to smash the interview and get you the job.

1. Research

Do your research and you will be in a prime position to impress. We don't mean just have a quick look on the website, we're talking about research where you get to know as much about the company as possible. We've broken it down in to sections to make it easier. 
Company: are they a formal and smart office or are they laid back and casual? Have a look at their twitter as you might get more of an insight into the team or added activities they are involved in with the city. 
The Brand: research why they use a certain type of branding, see if there is anything about how the brand was created and why.
The Values: most companies have their values and vision on their website about where they are going and what they want to achieve.
The People: research the people who are interviewing you and their position within the business as if you get on with them and make an impression, you'll be a memorable candidate. Take a look at 'meet the team' pages on company websites and check out Linkedin profiles. By doing this research you are prepared for questions such as 'Why are you interested in this role' you can say you are interested in the company values as they correlate with yours, or you are interested in what the business is trying to achieve and you want to be a part of that. 
Your other option is to wing it and not do research, but there is nothing worse than sitting in an interview and wanting the floor to open up when you are asked what you know about them and you've not even looked at their website. 

2. Plan 

Plan how you are going to get to the interview; firstly make sure you know the location of where the interview is going to be taking place, and your point of contact. Make sure you have a contact mobile number if the meeting is out of normal hours, and if you are travelling by public transport consider buses/trams/train timetables that may change for different times of the day. Make sure you accommodate for any traffic or road works and the timing, you are better to be there 15 minutes early than 10 minutes late. Our advice is have a dry run to the location a couple of days before ideally at the time you would be going to the interview then you have a certain exact location, even car parks - planning to this degree will alleviate a lot of pressure on the day of the interview leaving you to focus on the main event. 

3. Plan your outfit 

First impressions count. The last thing you want to do is to be turning up to your interview in an outfit that is un-ironed or un-washed because you weren't prepared - and to the interviewer it looks like you're not bothered about the role. Get your outfit out the night before to ensure it is ironed, washed and presentable. Make sure you dress for the job you want, even if the company doesn't have a smart dress code it is better to turn up dressed smart for an interview to give the impression you are professional.

4. CV at the ready 

It can be a real advantage to bring a copy of your CV with you to the interview; the person who is interviewing you may have forgotten to print a copy, or you can simply have it infront of you for reference points. Equally if you have a portfolio of work this can be great to draw upon when you have used certain experience in the past and you can showcase your work, or you have transferable skills from previous job roles. 

5. Confidence is key 

Be friendly and confident (but not arrogant). It's okay to be nervous, the interviewer will know you are nervous, but don't let nerves get the better of you. Keep calm and collected, greet everyone with a smile and a confident handshake, whether it's just the receptionist or the MD. As we've already covered, first impressions count and if you get the job you will be working with everyone you meet on the day so it's better to be friendly and approachable as often companies will have a collaborative hire process where they will take into consideration the receptionists view. Remember basic things like, eye contact, your posture, and body language to make sure you look engaged and confident. 

5. Run through questions 

You will be able to find the basic competency questions for most interviews online. We advise you to run through these questions and prepare your answers, so if you get a touchy one you don't get stuck and go in to panic mode. If you prepare you won't go in to panic mode and can keep your cool. You can prepare your answers referring back to your skill set and previous experience - plus watch out for curve ball questions where you may be required to do some left field thinking

7. Be positive

Stay positive throughout the interview, if you are asked questions like "how would you deal with problematic colleagues" put a positive spin on it, and try not to be negative or to bad mouth previous colleagues or work places. 

8. Sell yourself

Be sure to sell yourself and why you would be perfect for the role, this is your time to shine... Sell your skill sent and what you are good at, sell how you will fill the organisations needs and what you can bring to the table to better the organisation

9. Don't make it about the salary

Remember why you applied for the role, better salary might be the reason but bare in mind the development that the company is offering, or even the benefits that they offer. Don't make it all about the money and wait for them to ask you what salary you would be seeing as this is often a good sign when it comes from the interviewer. Don't just focus on the salary as training budgets, benefits and flexibility can be a great value so ask questions around these areas - make sure you are considering everything when going forward for the role.

10. Follow up 

After the interview it doesn't hurt to send the interviewers an email thanking them for their time. It shows you are keen and interested in the role, one thing to be careful of not to pressure the interviewers in to giving you a decision, be patient. Good things come to those who wait after all. 
That's it after these 10 tips you should be all set to smash your interview! If you still don't feel confident why not have a specialist recruiter to help you get the role you always wanted? Get in touch with us and register for a bespoke consultation.