If you are new to the UK or new to job interviews in general, getting through your first one can be a big challenge. There are lots of unwritten rules about what you should say, what you should do and how you should present yourself. If you don't know these, getting that first job can seem impossible, even if you're much better qualified than the other candidates. Don't worry! If you follow a few simple steps, you can get it right.
Before the Interview
- Do your research! Find out as much as you can about the employer and the role being offered. Read trade magazines to make sure you’re up to date on news about the business sector the company deals with.
- Go over your CV, making lists of the work experience, skills and personal qualities that could help you do the job well. Make sure you're ready to bring these up in the interview when they become relevant.
- Get plenty of sleep. Don't sit up the night before trying to cram as much information as possible into your brain. You'll make a much better impression if you look refreshed.
At the Interview
- Wear smart, dark coloured clothing to make you look business-like. You should be clean and well groomed but don't wear strong scents or a lot of make-up.
- Smile and shake hands firmly when you meet the interviewer, greeting them by their first name if possible. Wait until you’re offered a chair before you sit down.
- Let the interviewer take the lead. Make eye contact and be assertive but not aggressive. will need to balance the need to answer each question fully without letting yourself ramble.
- Be confident and enthusiastic about the job, but don't exaggerate. Make sure you go prepared with some questions to ask as this will show that you already have some knowledge of the company or job.
- Be honest about your abilities. If you're asked about your weaknesses, talk about them in a way that lets you turn them into strengths. For instance, you could say that you're a bit anxiety-prone but that makes you more diligent.
After the Interview
- Make notes about who you talked to and how the interview went. These will help you learn from your experience and will ensure you can follow up appropriately.
- If you haven't heard back after three days, phone up and ask to speak to the interviewer directly. Politely ask if the position has been filled and, if not, when you should expect a response from them.
- Following these guidelines will boost your chances of success. If you don’t get the first few jobs you apply for, don't worry - competition can be fierce and every interview is a learning experience. Stay positive and your hard work will pay off in the end.