Face-to-face interviews

Face-to-face interviews are often about first impressions so it’s important to present yourself in the best light from the beginning to the end. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can steer your success. From a smart appearance and asking the right questions, to knowing about the company’s goals and projects, here are some sure-fire ways to make you stand out and give a good first impression at your interview.

Do your research   
Find out what the company does, how it’s structured, what markets it operates in and how your role fits into that. This will show an enthusiasm for the company which will be sure to impress. The best way to do this is check their website, browse their social media and research the industry they work in. Going to an interview without knowing the basics can make you look disinterested and lazy.

Prepare questions

Remember an interview is a two way thing. Towards the end of the interview the interviewer will often give you a chance to ask them questions and it’s important you do. Questions like ‘Why has the position become available?’ and ‘what are the main objectives of the role?’ are an excellent start. Be prepared that some of your questions may get answered naturally during the course of the interview so it’s good to have multiple questions prepared. Having around five good questions will stand you in good stead.

Dress to impress

The first impression the interviewer will get of you is from your appearance, so it is worth dressing smart unless you’re told otherwise. While some companies may opt for relaxed working attire wearing traditional smart clothing to the interview is a good default. A smart shirt and tie combination paired with suit trousers and clean brown or black shoes are a winner for all. Women may consider smart, low-key dresses or a skirt and blouse.

Pack the night before

To avoid unnecessary stress on the day it is worth packing for your interview the evening before. Ensure that you have a pen, notepad and a copy of your CV. Sometimes employers will request additional items so check if you need anything else then pack accordingly. If you’re interviewing for a functional skills tutor position, take a portfolio of your work; in case they ask to see an example.

Plan your journey

Ensure you know how you’re getting to your interview, where to park if you’re driving and how long the journey will take. Always leave a little extra time for any delays or mishaps that could occur on the way such as traffic or delayed public transport.

On the day

When you greet the interviewer, smile and give a firm handshake. During the interview, make eye contact and try to make sure you always look engaged; an interviewer will engage more with someone who is making eye contact and interested than someone who is avoiding meeting eyes and seems disinterested. Try mimicking the interviewer’s style to match how formal or informal they are. Avoid negative body language such as crossing your arms or leaning back in your chair. Instead, try to be open and engaged in your posture.

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