Today I’m going to share with you my top interview tips, in the hope it’ll help to organise you, and help you feel ready to smash your next interview!
I’ve had many interviews across the years, from my first little job after uni (The White Company call centre!) through to my current role working in marketing for premium kitchen appliances company Fisher & Paykel.
I’ve been working in marketing for a good few years now, and I have changed jobs now and again to better myself. Whether that’s for more money (usually the reason) or to find a better working environment. Firstly, don’t worry if people are frowning upon your reason to leave your current role. Only YOU know how you feel in that job, and what you’re looking for.
As mentioned above, my usual reason for leaving jobs has been to better myself salary wise, as in many sectors it seems the only way to gain a suitable raise to be able to attain better mortgages, save more money for the future, pay increasing bills etc. At the end of the day we go to work to make money right? I have also left roles to do something I enjoy more, or simply because the company failed to pay me on time – not cool! This happened in two of the marketing roles I’ve had. Not great when it comes to having bills to pay…
So don’t ever let others tell you what to do with your career. Trust your gut instinct.
Research the company
An obvious one, but certainly important. Get obsessed with the company. What do they do? Have they implemented anything great recently that you could talk or ask about in the interview? It’s worth checking the news or blog sections of their website or even their social media accounts.
They’ll be pleased when you show the effort you’ve made to learn about them.
Be ready for various interview types
Interview types vary SO much. I’ve had really relaxed, informal styles – my favourite of course! Through to pretty formal ones with presentations to prepare and present, and ones with random tests. Even one where I had one room to go in with a presentation to present, and then I had to pop into a room next door to then be further interviewed by two more people. Interviews really do differ from company to company.
So when applying for roles, be ready and open to be interviewed in different ways each time. Just give it your best and take it in your stride as much as possible. I know, easier said than done sometimes, but all you can do is try your best.
Just be yourself
Have you gone through life so far without making a single mistake? I didn’t think so. We all make mistakes. We have all messed up somewhere along the lines.
So when it comes to job interviews, I try to get my head in the mindset of “this is me, this is what I know, take it or leave it”. Obviously I am always nervous to an extent in every interview, but I try to make myself remember that it’s genuinely not the end of the world if I’m not the right person they’re looking for.
All you can do is go in, be yourself, say what you can do, what you have experience of and what you’d like to get out of your next role. If it’s right for them, then great. If it’s not, no worries. It’s on to the next one…
In marketing, I can easily take in examples of content I’ve written, or other marketing materials etc. that I have created over the years. Be sure to save down or write down examples from your current role now, even if you’re not actively job hunting, as they may help you in the future when you’re interviewed.
If you finished college or uni not that long ago, do you have pieces of work you’re proud of that you could take in?
I had an A3 folder filled with assignments I’d received good grades on, creative work I’d completed etc. – and I received praise from interviewers for simply bothering to bring this in, being told that no one else had bothered to do so, and therefore it made me stand out.
Think outside of your career
Are you a blogger? Or do you do any other exciting things outside of work where skills can transfer from that to the role you’re applying for?
Being a blogger has definitely helped me in my career. I’ve been able to show examples of successful write-ups and show why they have been successful. For example, I wrote for a local company in recent times and they were so pleased with my writing that they offered me the chance to run their social media for them. I declined, but I did bring up that success in my current job’s interview to prove the power of my writing.
Can you think of anything like this that you could draw into your next interview?
Dress the part
I don’t dress ever so formal when it comes to interviews, because I’m not the kind of girl to wear a power suit to work each day. Usually I’ll simply pop on a pretty, comfortable dress, tights or nice leggings, a smart but comfortable cardigan or soft blazer jacket and boots.
That’s my style, that’s what I feel comfortable and confident in, and therefore I can be myself.
It may differ from sector to sector and probably level of role too. It’s probably best to go on the smarter end of what you think is best for the job you’re going for, than to be underdressed and look scruffy!
Depending on your area of work, you may find it useful to have a LinkedIn career profile.
Ensure it’s up to date and looks great as your potential employers will be likely to look this up, and first impressions do count! Whilst you’re looking for a new role, make your profile public – you can always make it private again once you’ve secured a new job.
What about your other social media accounts? How do they look publicly?
Quite often I see people using Facebook on the public setting, meaning that anyone can see everything they post. It might be worth checking to see how yours looks, what your privacy settings are set at in case you want to hide what you say and show from the entire outside world.
Alternatively, your social media might be a great way to show how fab you are! For example, if you’re a blogger, they may see all your beautiful images, the lovely content you write etc. Definitely give it some thought.
Prep for the standard questions
When have you gone above and beyond in your job? Or to help a customer?
What is your weakness? (You know, the one where you say your possible weakness but spin it to show the silver lining of it).
Can you think of a difficult hurdle in a previous role and how you overcame it? I’m sure there are articles out there if you search online that list the most commonly asked interview questions like these.
Think about those key times in your career so far where you’re really pleased with a result you achieved after implementing something, or difficult moments where you dealt with it smartly to get a good result etc.
Prepping for these questions will leave you feeling much calmer when they spring these types of questions on you. And hey, once you know your examples you’re set for every interview going forwards.
At the end of the interview they may ask you if you have any further questions. And one brilliant tip I picked up a few years ago was to ask them what their best moment has been at the company so far.
You might get an “ooh, that’s an interesting one” reply, but honestly, everyone loves talking about themselves and their experiences. We all do. So it’ll look great that you’ve turned the interview round to be about them and not just you.
It’s also a great way to find out more about the company and the people you will potentially be working with. I’ve asked it in every interview in recent times and I think it’s gone down really well!
Take a copy of your CV, and make sure you’ve read it through before the interview as you’re likely to be asked questions about each role and what you did in each one.
Take a notebook – maybe have a few questions written down inside it for when they ask if you have any questions. You can also make notes in the interview of anything you feel is key to note from what they tell you.
Be on time
I usually aim to go into the building about 5 minutes before. This will give you time to sign in at the premises if you need to and give the receptionist time to tell your interviewer that you have arrived.
This also allows them to start the interview on time, which I’m sure they will appreciate if they have a busy day of work, meetings and interviews.
Nail your communication skills
I’ve been told that I have good eye contact with people, which is a great way to show that you’re listening and wanting to take in what they say.
When answering the questions, aim to answer them in a descriptive way, but try not to waffle on too much. Be succinct.
Strive for a balance between listening, answering and engaging. It should have a conversation style flow, rather than answering questions quickly and shortly as if you’re on mastermind.
..lastly, good luck! I hope this has helped you to get prepped for your next interview. The main top number 1 tip is to simply be yourself. At the end of the day we spend so much of our time at work, it has to be right for both parties.
*Thank you to LOTD who gifted me this gorgeous bag, which is just perfect for work and everyday life! It’s really amazing for just £10, a true bargain that’s for sure. I’d definitely recommend checking out their website at www.lotd.com for really lovely fashion at really affordable prices.
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