Expert tips on nailing your interview: before, during and after

Interview etiquette makes all the difference when it comes to a successful interview. Here is our expert advice on making sure you have a flawless interview process from start to finish. 

So, you’ve landed an interview at the company of your dreams. You’ve polished your CV, kept up to date with the trends in your field and you’ve really put yourself out there. These are already things to be proud of, so high-fives all around! 

Then the countdown begins and it starts to dawn on you: in a day or two, you’re going to be sitting in front of somebody whose main focus is to find out as much as they can about you in half an hour or less. No pressure, none at all. 

Except there is. 

We have organised and overseen a plethora of interviews during our years in recruitment and believe us when we say: it does not have to be as terrifying as you think. Foresight, focus and follow-ups are all part of the game and when you know how to get them right, you are already a stand-out candidate. So without further adieu, let’s look at how you can make the best impression possible before, during and after your interview! 

Foresight: before the interview 

Leading up to the interview it’s easy to get yourself into a state about the whole thing. Let’s get one thing straight: panic is not going to help anybody, especially not you. Preparing for your interview is simple: research, research, research. 

You can never know exactly what is going to go down in your interview but you can make sure you are fully equipped with the correct knowledge and understanding about the company and field you’re interviewing for, correct? 

Research the company 

Interviewers are always looking for candidates who care about the role they’re applying for. They can tell straight off the bat if you have taken time to find out more about the company, their values and the requirements of the available position. 

Start off by finding out as much as can you about the company’s mission, values and goals.  Unless you’re interviewing for the world’s most obscure and off-the-grid company, you will be able to find a ton of information online. 

Look at their website, social media and any press that has been written about the company. From here you should be able to find out more about: 

  1. Company culture
  2. Mission and values 
  3. Past achievements 
  4. Goals for the future 
  5. Products and services

Your research should also include finding out who is interviewing you. You can find this out by seeing who has been included in the email link or by checking out employee profiles on their website. If none of these seems to answer your question, reach out to your recruiter and they should be able to help. 

Bear in mind this doesn’t mean stalking them on Facebook and asking about their 2015 holiday to India but it does help to have an idea of who you will be speaking with. 

Research the role 

Hopefully, you already have a thorough understanding of the job description and use this as a basis for the majority of your preparation. 

Make solid links between your skills, qualifications and interests and the specs that have been outlined in the job description. This will make it easier to answer any questions about why YOU are the best, most suitable candidate for the job. 

Researching the role means you will be able to speak more easily about how you align with the company. It better equips you to answer any questions with direct reference to your skillset, which is always a win. 

Review your answers

Interviewers can absolutely throw curveball questions that you never would have anticipated but give yourself some breathing space by knowing your answers to standard questions. Prepare well-thought-out responses to questions about who you are, what your goals or why you have chosen to work in your field. 

Discover: the best questions to ask in your interview

Focus: during the interview 

Okay, it’s D-Day and you’ve done the groundwork to put your best foot forward. There is a lot you can’t control during your interview but there is basic etiquette that will put you in good stead. 

New interview etiquette 

First things first, respect COVID protocols. If you are doing a face-to-face interview you need to respect the health and safety of your interviewers by keeping your mask on unless given permission to remove it. 

If your interview is via video call, make sure you’ve done a test run beforehand and have a stable connection. Keep your background neutral and clean (nobody wants to hire somebody with an unmade bed at 2 pm). 

Read more about our tips for Zoom interviews here

Attitude 

Confidence is key and humans can smell insecurity from a mile away. If confidence doesn’t come naturally to you…fake it. You’ll find you may even trick yourself into a more calm and composed state if you give low self-esteem the boot. Sit up straight, look everybody in the eyes and be clear about who you are, what you do and what you can bring to the table. 

Presentation 

Your research will give you an indication of how you should present yourself. However, even if you are interviewing for a company that has a casual culture you shouldn’t presume that casual is appropriate for an interview. Yes, your qualifications and skills are the top priority but many companies care about how their team presents themselves so dress for the job you want and let the rest fall into place. 

Follow-up: after the interview

Remember that the end of the interview isn’t completely the end of the interview. Make sure that you leave on a positive note by thanking everybody for their time, making any positive observations and holding the door for them if you exit together. It’s the small things that make all the difference. 

Once you have left the building or exited the chat, you can never go wrong by thanking somebody for their time. Let them know how you felt about the interview and what you enjoyed speaking with them about. You could even share something new that you learned during the interview. 

Some companies who have gone through a recruitment agency will request that no contact is made after the interview. If that is the case, respectfully wait until you are contacted. 

To end off

The interview process is hard. You can be as prepared as humanly possible and still, it just doesn’t work out. Remember to be yourself, trust in your capabilities and approach each interview with an open mind! 

At The Knowledge Trust, our aim is to connect our job-seekers with companies they will thrive in. To get the ball rolling on your career, get in touch with one of our fantastic recruitment agents. 

The Knowledge Trust

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