Tips to help you nail your job interview

How to prepare for a job interview

When going to a job interview it’s very unlikely you will get a second chance, so first impressions are always crucial. This is why we are going to provide some tips on how to prepare for a job interview.

The best way to prepare for an interview is, first of all, broadening your understanding of the company and what they do, and this is super important. Researching the company and how your role can benefit the company shows that you are serious about wanting this job. Carrying out this research beforehand will allow you to be more prepared for the job interview and answer questions concerning how the company will help you progress in your career.

Second, practice some potential interview questions and give thought to what your weaknesses are. If you are stuck on what to say, some job interview weaknesses can be:

  • Being a perfectionist
  • Having too much on your plate
  • Not knowing a certain software that is used frequently.

These weaknesses don’t make you seem unsuitable for the job and they also make you seem truthful. More questions they might ask are, “What you can bring to the team (what are your strengths) ?”, or “Tell me about yourself”, and here you can bullet point some of your interests, hobbies, etc. Then there are the frequently-asked questions, such as “What attracted you to apply for this job?” and “Where would you like to be in your career in 10 years?”

Third, think of questions to ask at the end of an interview. During the research of the company and job you are applying for make sure to jot down some clear questions for the interviewer which can be, for example:

  • If I were to get the job, what tasks would I be working on?
  • What type of candidate are you looking for?
  • What are the main responsibilities that come with this job?
  • What are the company’s future plans?

These are some crucial points in how to prepare for an interview that provide a clear picture of the interview process. Want some more tips to help you prepare? Take a look at our article on how to prepare for an interview.

How to dress for your job interview?

Now onto the next question: how to dress for your job interview. When it comes to job interview outfits, it is very hard to give one answer, as it depends on the type of job you are applying to. You want to dress appropriately as the first impression always counts and your outfit is the first thing that the interviewer notices. However, the outfit depends on the company dress code. What to wear for a job interview? A good idea for an interview outfit is business attire which normally means a suit and tie, formal dress or a blouse with suit pants. In short, make sure you look as professional as possible.

Interview clothes can differ a lot, as it does really depend on the job you are applying for, but you should always look presentable and pristine. Smart casual interview outfits can be a knee-length skirt or dark trousers, and a blouse. Avoid t-shirts and for footwear try low heels or flats.

Again, no t-shirts and dress as simple as possible, preferably in a white shirt. Some good interview clothes for men can be smart casual outfits, which include a simple button-down shirt or a white shirt under a sweater. Never wear jeans and certainly not shorts, instead opt for proper trousers and certainly not shorts.

Online interview outfit ideas

Nowadays it is common to do Zoom interviews. Some outfits for Zoom interviews can be all the outfits mentioned above. If you want to wear a bit of makeup, add a small necklace and some earrings, and simple hair accessories. Comb your hair and maybe add a wristwatch. Even though you are doing a Zoom interview and you assume you will only be seen from the waist up, try to wear a skirt or trousers as you never know if you have to get up for a glass of water or a pen mid-meeting.

Job interview hair and makeup

Other factors apply such as appropriate hairstyles for job interviews, which can range from a slick ponytail, braid, loose hair, or a curled coupe if you are feeling a bit of glam! Now think about makeup. What makeup should I wear for the job interview? Keep it as natural as possible, avoid caking your face, maybe apply some blush, a light tone of lipstick, and mascara to accentuate certain features of your face. In other words, a natural but classy look.

One more tip on how to dress for your job interview: cover up any tattoos and piercings. Want some more tips to help you pick an outfit? Have a look at our article on what to wear to a job interview.

What questions should you expect during your job interview?

Being prepared for the job interview always lessens your stress. So, what questions should you expect during your job interview? Some common job interview questions and sample answers are:

  • How would you describe yourself? This is often the first question because it is like a warm-up exercise and allows the interviewer to understand what kind of person you are.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Make sure you are honest about your strengths and weaknesses but do not give too much away. Give two or three examples. Furthermore, listing some weaknesses shows self-awareness and shows that you want to improve.
  • Why should we hire you/what would you add to the company? This is the perfect opportunity to show off that you have done your research of the company and apply your strengths.
  • Tell us about a really difficult challenge you faced during your previous work and how did you overcome it? This question is always a hard one to answer, but what you simply do is give the context, describe what sort of measures you took, and the result.
  • Why did you decide to leave your current job/ why are you looking for a job? Even though you don’t like your current job, do not say anything negative, always try to mould your answer towards professional development.

There’s nothing like being too prepared, so practising these job interview questions will help you succeed. Want to have a look at some more potential job interview questions? We have an article full of them.

Salary negotiations

Landing a job is an exciting moment in everyone’s life and salary negotiations with your employer are key to ensuring that you will be paid what you are worth (or what you think you’re worth) and become a satisfied addition to the staff. Also, it shows your employer that you have confidence in yourself and are a mature individual capable of watching out for your interests.

For such important negotiations, there are general rules which you should follow. For instance, it is good to negotiate your salary while interviewing for the job, and not wait until you are already working. A simple question like, “How much do you pay”? is expected. Try not to agree to the first offer on the table. If you think it is not enough or is not the same as in other companies, you can ask for more money by saying “Can you do better? Such-and-such a company pays their workers around a pound an hour over what you are offering.” It is best to let them give the first salary offer so try to avoid having them ask you what you think the salary could be. They may offer more than you expected.

Keep it friendly and non-confrontational, and boast about your strengths so the employer believes he or she is getting a good deal and comes up with an acceptable offer in the job negotiations. Remember that 20 pounds a week over the original offer translates into 1,000 pounds a year.

Be sure to ask if there are regular salary increases or performance-based bonuses, perks like free meals and employer-paid transport, and how quickly you might be able to advance to a higher position. This shows that you are ambitious and eager to do well in the company. Salary negotiations can be a fraught experience but these suggestions can help towards a successful outcome.

Want some more tips to help you with those pesky negotiations? Check out our article on salary negotiations.

Tips for a telephone job interview

These days everything seems to be online or by phone, even when it comes to job interviews. There is a chance that you can get a job interview by telephone. Maybe the first interview will be over the phone, which then leads to one in person. A lot of companies simply organize themselves better through telephone job interviews. This can be more nerve-wracking to some as it is less common to have a phone job interview so this is why we are here with some telephone interview tips.

The benefits of a phone interview are that you do not have to dress up as they cannot physically see you, so get comfy. Also, another advantage is that you can have your CV, cover letter, or even your notes that you made when preparing for a phone interview right in front of you. However, the disadvantage is that because they cannot see you and your expressions, they will judge you based on your voice. This means that you should try and be as friendly as possible and have an enthusiastic tone when replying. Also, make sure you are in a quiet space with no background noise or possible interruptions, and be sure you have a good connection. Speak clearly as it can be hard to understand certain words through the phone. And most importantly, try to treat the interview as if you were with the interviewer face-to-face. Just because you are doing a job interview by telephone, does not mean you should take it less seriously.

When it comes to phone interview questions, they will be similar to the questions they would ask in a face-to-face interview (mentioned above). An example of some common phone interview questions would be describe yourself, why do you want this job, tell me what you know about this role, what are you passionate about, what are your salary expectations, etc. When doing a phone job interview, it is hard to get the atmosphere of the place you are applying for and having an idea of what the life of their employees is like. Especially compared to when they are there in person as you would most probably go into the office for a job interview. So, here are some questions to ask in a phone interview:

What does a normal workday look like for your employees?
What would you want me to achieve if I get this role?
Is it more team-work oriented or independent?

No matter how much you spoke during the interview or how well you got along with the interviewer, this doesn’t necessarily mean you got the job, therefore keep these telephone job interview tips in mind.

Would you like some more advice on how to impress an employer over the phone? Make sure to read our article on telephone job interviews.

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