Six hints and tips for the perfect interview

So you’ve managed the first hurdle and impressed enough to get that all important interview, but how do you make sure you bag your dream role? When applying for an internship, getting through to interview stage can often fill you with excitement and nerves in equal measure. To help you get the most out of your interview take a look at these useful tips:

1. It’s all in the preparation

You’ve got the interview, now what do you do? You prepare! This is key regardless of what role you are interviewing for, or your level of seniority. If you turn up without any knowledge of the business you are interviewing with or unable to demonstrate your understanding of the industry in which they operate or can’t talk through your own experience and achievements fluently, you’re toast!

Spend some time researching the company you are meeting with ahead of your interview. Make sure you understand what they do, who their clients are and where they sit amongst their competitors. If anything, this research will help you to understand if this company is also a place you see yourself working at. The more effort put in before the interview, naturally the more confident you will be going in to it. So make sure you do your homework, and if you have some examples of relevant work you have done, bring this with you.

2. Timing is everything

It’s common sense, right? You would be surprised how many people don’t plan ahead and therefore end up 5-10 minutes late for an interview. Take in to consideration that your interviewer may have only blocked out a certain amount of time in their diary to see you; every minute you are late by is very likely a minute less you will have to convince your interviewer you are right for the job.

Ideally you should aim to arrive at the given location for your interview half an hour early – but don’t go in yet! Find yourself a local coffee shop and give yourself a few minutes to collect your thoughts and revisit your notes. Having this time before your interview not only helps you focus, but also allows for any sudden transport delays (which are bound to happen when you least want them to).

Aim to report to the office for your interview five minutes ahead of your designated slot. Plan your travel route in advance and check on the day if there have been any transport issues which may affect your journey. If you arrive and see the company you are meeting with is inside a shared office building, you might want to allow ten minutes to get through security and find the right floor. The key is to arrive a little early (but not too early that you become an inconvenience) and ready for your interview.

Should you for any reason find yourself running late you should always call the office (best make a note of their number before you leave just in case), and pre-warn them. Remember time management is on most employers list as a desirable skill!

3. First impressions count

It’s important to be presentable. If you turn up to an interview with scruffy hair, your morning’s breakfast all over your top and in completely the wrong dress code, you’re unlikely to kick things off to a great start.

Plan ahead – what are you going to wear? Is it a corporate company that requires a suit and tie or a creative agency where the dress code is more causal? If you aren’t sure take a look at the company’s website or social media platforms and see what their employees wear. You can always phone the office in advance and ask someone for advice if you are unsure.

4. Think about body language

Body language and eye contact play a huge part in showing you are both interested and professional. Greet your interviewer with a confident handshake (please don’t squeeze their hand too hard; you don’t get extra points for showing off strength), and look them in the eye when you thank them for their time.

Once invited to sit down, make sure you’re feeling as comfortable as you can to avoid any unnecessary fidgeting and sit up straight facing your interviewers.  Do not slouch or hold your head in your hands! This doesn’t come across well and can make you look bored or disinterested.

Be aware of eye contact. Look at your interviewers when they are speaking to you and retain eye contact when answering questions. If you have more than one interviewer look at them both, do not concentrate on one person as this can be off-putting.

5. Play the question master

At the end of most interviews you are given the chance to ask questions to your interviewers about the role or the company. We strongly recommend you consider what you might like to ask ahead of your interview.

Think about questions that not only give you a better idea of what you can expect should you be offered the role, but questions that might stand out from the crowd. Why not ask the interviewers what they like most about working there? Or, what they expect to be the most challenging aspect of the role.

6. And that’s a wrap

Remember to close. At the end of your interview remember to thank your interviewers for their time and feel free to ask when you are likely to hear back from the company and what the next steps might be.

The above points are just some of the many ways you can prepare for your interview to make the most of your opportunity. Ultimately, it depends on the role and the other applicants as to whether you might be suitable, but if you follow the tips above you are far more likely to succeed.

If you are interested in applying for our three-month paid internship you can find out more on how to apply here. And if you’d like to know more about any of our other current opportunities take a look at the job roles we’re hiring for here.

Shoshanna in our Recruitment team