Before I started looking for placement, I think I had one interview for a job as a waitress. Although I was a nervous wreck and didn’t have a clue how to make coffee, I somehow managed to get the job (and learnt how to make the best lattes ever). I remember asking my friends and family for tips on how to properly prepare for an interview, all of which was great advice and eventually got me a fantastic placement! So I thought I would share these interview tips with you all, hopefully they’ll be as useful to you.
Research the company – and make sure it’s the right company
I know this sounds obvious but it’s so easily done especially with smaller organisations. You Google the company, click on the first link and learn facts from the website to impress in the interview… except it’s actually the wrong company and the interviewer is as baffled as you are. The easiest way to avoid this is to check for a web link on any emails from the company or even just look out for their logo. Try and go the extra mile and check their social media accounts to see what projects they’re working on at the moment, they’ll be impressed that you’ve done more than just look at their website.
Dress for success
Your appearance in interviews is important, you need to look professional and appropriate for the role you want. I’m not saying you have to wear the most sophisticated dress ever with your new stunning black high heels from Zara, wear whatever you feel most confident in. If you feel comfortable wearing heels every day at work then do that and fair play to you, I however wore heels once and complained about it for a solid month (so not worth the pain).
Organisations can be quite strict in terms of employees’ time keeping, your interview is giving them an impression of what you’re going to be like as an employee so it only makes sense to be punctual. It’s good to get there a few minutes early and give yourself some time, although don’t be like me and turn up 30 minutes early for an interview, it’s a bit much if I do say so myself.
My housemates were really encouraging when I was preparing for my placement interviews and helped me practice. If you look up interview practice questions, spend a few minutes thinking about how your skills are relevant to the job and question being asked. I found this website really useful for sample questions . Even the smallest things you’ve done can be made relevant to an interview, don’t sell yourself short.
Show your personality
Interviews can be so nerve wrecking and intense, it can be hard to feel comfortable and confident in those situations. One thing I have been good at is showing my personality and hiding the nerves, although it doesn’t feel like I’m hiding them well. I tend to try and laugh the nerves off and apparently it works well. My manager told me that showing my personality in my interview really made the difference. Of course the company wants the best qualified person for their job, but they also want someone they can work with and feel they will get along with.
Stay Positive and relax
Again this is definitely easier said than done. It’s understandable to be panicked and worrying because you really want the job, but it is important to remember that it is only an interview and not the end of the world. If the interview didn’t go to well, see it as a learning experience and finding out what to change for the next one. If the interview goes fantastic and you get the job, well then you’ll know these tips were the reason for it, obviously.
Kellina Loughran is a final year student on the BSc in Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kellina-loughran-a382a9123/ , Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellina_x , and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellinaloughran/