Interview Techniques: Six ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ no-one tells you about

15 May 2013

It’s a time honoured topic, but you really cannot do too much preparation for an interview for a top-level position. After all, you’ve worked for it, now you need to make sure you go out and get it! Our ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ guide tries to avoid the very obvious (do wear a tie, don’t turn up late) and give you six really pertinent tips to help you stand out.

Do: Plan an ‘Interview Day’ routine

There’s nothing worse than waking up later than you planned or having to rush through traffic and burst through the interview door, ten seconds before your interview was due to start. Plan your day. If you suffer from nerves, going for breakfast with a friend nearby first will work wonders. If your interview is late in the day, don’t spend all day waiting. Plan something for the morning and then get there in plenty of time. If you’re travelling far, consider staying locally the night before. Do everything you can to make any time you have pre-interview as painless as possible.

Don’t: Repeat items on your C.V.

If you’ve put some specific cases on to your C.V. and are then asked about them by the interviewer, try to expand on the details you have already provided. Chances are that this is what they’re after anyway (they’ve read your C.V.) and it gives you the chance to add the human element by relating your personal experiences and anecdotes. Keep it relevant though and make sure you show things in a positive light.

Do: Tailor your story to the vacancy

This can be as simple as talking about cases you have worked on that are in that firm’s area of expertise, or even related to the firm’s geographical location. Do everything you can to establish connections between yourself and the firm you are interviewing for. Work whatever similarities you can find into your answers and you’ll see the recognition on their side when they make the connection for themselves.

Don’t: Come across as a ‘know-it-all’

There’s a difference between showing you are well-qualified for a job and showing you are overconfident. Make sure you present all of your knowledge and experience to the interviewer but emphasise a willingness to continue your professional development.

Do: Prepare questions to ask the interviewer

Any good interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for them, normally at the end of the interview. Though it might sometimes seem otherwise, a new job is a two way process: you need to be happy too. Make sure you’ve got some questions ready to go. Have plenty ready, in case some are covered during the process and when they are, perhaps note that you were ‘going to ask about that at the end’.

Don’t: Sound like you’re reading off a script

Interviewers may be seeing multiple people in one day and standing out will really matter. Even if you do prepare your answers to predictable questions, make sure you don’t sound like you’re just reading them from a pre-prepared script. Speak with authority, not monotony.

Looking for a chance to put these tips into practice? Jepson Holt helps you to achieve what you want to achieve in your career. Search our latest vacancies here.