Four key interview tips that you probably had never thought of!

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Congratulations, you’ve got the interview for your dream job! You’ve prepared for every eventuality; you know the company inside out, you know who their partners are, who the panel comprises of and have a pretty good idea of what the role entails. Unfortunately the nerves have kicked in or you’re a little anxious about what’s to come.

Fortunately GO Wales has some interview tips that you may not have thought of to help you calm down and gain a little advantage. Everyone gets nervous during an interview, even if you’re a walking history lesson about the company so keep calm, we’re here to help!

The interview starts as soon as you leave home

Some people think that the interview starts as soon as you enter the organisation’s premises. Whilst this is true, you’ll be in a much better position if you put yourself in the mindset that your interview starts as soon as you leave home.

Why? This is all about the impression that you portray. It’s obvious that you should be polite to the receptionist and any staff members that you encounter in the office. But what about the person you passed as you approached the building, the person that was driving behind you for the last 10 minutes of your journey or the person from the building across the road where all the staff go for lunch on a Friday?

You may have aced the interview, made an excellent impression with the panel and feel on top of the world but if you drive aggressively, spit out your gum, are overheard saying less-than-appropriate things to your friends over the phone or otherwise act unprofessionally whilst these people are around then it’s possible that these people will mention your behaviour to the panel who may then look upon you less favourably than they had before. Treat the whole process as starting from the moment you leave home and ending once you close your front door as this will minimise the chances of you missing out from something that could have been avoided.

It’s not an interview, more of a chat

Interviews are pretty formal affairs usually, especially if there’s a presentation involved, and even more so if you’ve got to go through an assessment day. By treating any one-to-one or panel-to-one situations as more of a chat than an interview you can break down barriers between the two.

There is a simple way to do this, that is to ask the interviewer for a response after giving your answer, and doing so in such a way that you can then respond to their comments and create a dialogue on the subject of the question. Asking something like “what are your thoughts on this?” or “do you agree?” will portray yourself as someone more interested in the role or company which will give you an advantage over other candidates.

This not only makes an interview less stressful for you but it shows that you a) have an interest in what the interviewer’s thoughts are on the subject, b) have a genuine interest in the topic, and c) shows that you are willing to seek further information about an industry or a company that you might not already have known about, and that goes a long way!

You are your application

This really should be obvious but it’s amazing as to how few people know their applications inside out. Whilst it’s fairly easy to memorise a CV if you’ve looked at it dozens of times over and over again, memorising an entire application form is a bit more of a difficult task especially when you start to include very specific information regarding roles and achievements.

It’s important to remember that the only information that the interviewers will know about you will be what’s on your application and whilst some information may be obvious to you, it can often be less so for the panel, and they will want to ask you for further information based on what you’ve told them.

With this in mind you should therefore be the absolute personification of your application down to the letter and know every single piece of information that you’ve written like the back of your hand so that you’re prepared to elaborate on things that the interviewers know about you as well as to fill in any gaps with new information.

Be opinionated and find common ground

Your panel will expect you to keep up with current affairs or industry related developments regardless of what role you’re going for and including some reference to recent news within your answers will score you major brownie points.

Most of all, the company will want to hire a human being, not a robot. Someone that may know everything about the company and seem like a perfect fit on paper might otherwise be a complete nightmare to work with and even if you may not be a perfect fit in terms of academic achievements or industry experience, your interest in the industry or other common ground can make interviewers gloss over what might otherwise disadvantage you compared to other candidates.

For example, prior to starting with the GO Wales team, I had engaged with interviewers on shared interests in local music, stand up comedy and various technology products that helped establish a friendly rapport between myself and the panel that removed many of the barriers that were between us. It makes you seem more human to the interviewer and just as importantly, it makes the interviewer seem a lot less intimidating to you!

Hopefully some of these tips will make the difference in your next interview! Good luck!