We have compiled a list of our most important techniques and preparation tips on how to have a successful interview. Everyone knows how daunting a job interview can be, but you should be able to walk out feeling proud of your performance and ready and raring for your new start! Here’s how.
Plan & Prepare:
It is best to have all the information you can about the company you want to work for and the role in which you are applying. They could ask you about their competitors, how you can improve their company’s position, why you suit this role, etc.
First impressions matter, so try and dress for the job you want. You can ask prior to your interview about the dress code of the workplace, or you can get an idea during your research of the company. But importantly, make sure you’re comfortable! You don’t want your clothes to be adding stress to your day.
Anticipate Concerns and Prepare Solutions
It is always a good idea to prepare for the worst, so try and put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes to work out why they might not want to hire you. If you maybe lack in one area but excel in another, prepare some examples just in case they highlight why you might not be a perfect fit.
Make sure you have at least 3 or 4 questions to ask in an interview, thus proving you’re fully engaged and interested in the role and the company. Include questions about what you have researched, specific queries about the role, and use information you have acquired during the interview to sculpt any further questions.
Practice Practice Practice
Practice makes perfect, so try preparing some responses to common interview questions and saying them out loud. You can do this in a mirror, or try asking a friend to give feedback to build your confidence.
The STAR technique is a very useful model that offers a format to answer those tricky behavioural questions.
These are the ones that ask you for real-life examples of how you handled a certain type of situation. For example, “tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a team member and how you handled it”, or “give me an example of a time you had to develop a skill for a new task, and how you approached the learning process”.
How do you use the STAR technique?
STAR stands for Situation Task Action Result. This will help you structure your answer, without rambling, but still have it include the relevant information to actually answer their question. But how do you use it? Structure your response as follows:
Here you should describe the situation you were in that the interviewer has asked for, and be specific. You don’t want to be describing a generalised description of something that happened, you want to include enough specific detail so the interviewer understands the situation, but try to keep it short and sweet.
This is when you bring yourself into the story. You are telling it because it has something to do with you and your performance, so include what responsibilities you had. Don’t get this confused with the ‘action’ part of the technique, this should be what you were asked to do before you actually did it.
Here is where you explain what action you took to address and overcome the situation, making sure you focus on yourself and your contributions, rather than the team (use “I” rather than “we”).
This is when you describe what your actions resulted in. Most of the time they will be asking for an example with a positive outcome, therefore don’t be shy about taking credit for your actions. Explain how the situation was resolved due to your efforts.
Sometimes however they might ask for a negative example i.e. “describe a time when you tried to accomplish something and failed”, whereby you would need to explain why what you did was not successful, but make sure to add how you would have done it differently to achieve a better outcome, as to not end on a negative note.
On The Day:
It is always important to be punctual, especially when it comes to first impressions, so make sure you plan ahead to arrive 5 – 10 minutes early. This shows you are ready and raring to go and passionate about the opportunity. Make sure however you do not arrive too early, as this could put pressure on the interviewer if they are seeing other candidates before you, or have other commitments.
A good idea is to bring a notepad and pen to make notes during the interview, this also gives you a chance to look down if you struggle with eye contact, as well as show them you are interviewed and are taking on what they are saying. You might think you will retain all the information but it is always good to have notes to refer to.
Bring Your CV
This is a great idea as they may have lost it or do not have it to hand. As it is a list of all of your achievements, it will be good to bring to the table to reference throughout. If there is anything you’ve forgotten about your accomplishments, it will be there to glance at!
Something to remember is how you come across physically, the way you sit and the way you emote can make an impact. Just be aware of your body language, sit up straight, hold your head up high and that will exude confidence – even if you don’t feel it they will sense that you are!
It is easy to get carried away with yourself and start rambling when asked a question, especially when nervous, so try and consciously think about slowing down and taking time to think and respond to their questions. This will make sure you’re actually processing what they’ve asked you rather than just rushing to an answer. It’s easier said than done, but try to stay calm!
These interview tips and star method explanation should really help you gather your thoughts to be as prepared as you can be for your upcoming interview. Remember to be positive, be polite, be yourself, and don’t give up! It can be disheartening if you don’t think it’s going well or if you think you’ve said something wrong, but always learn from your mistakes, take notes, and reflect on your performance as there will always be other interviews that you can ace!
ARC has a variety of roles we recruit for, including our newly launched Commercial Division. If you are interested in our job opportunities, take a look at our current jobs and set up your interview today!