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Before your interview
Research, research, research!
Do the groundwork and look into the company’s background. If it’s an agency, look at the services it provides to clients, where it operates and staff biographies. If it’s an in-house role you’re going for look at the kind of work the company does and its key markets.
Analyse the job description and any other materials you’re sent in advance of the interview and think about how your skills and experience fits.
Know your CV back-to-front. At the start of the interview you may be asked about your education and work history. Remind yourself of previous courses, jobs and key accomplishments so you’re ready to deliver a succinct summary.
Prepare for questions
Answering questions properly can be a skill in itself. Ask a friend to do a mock interview with you so can get used to answering typical interview questions such as...
- Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
- Why did you apply for the role?
- Why do you think are you the right person for this role?
- What skills can you bring to the role?
- What’s your biggest weakness?
- What are your strengths?
- What challenges do you think you’ll face in the job?
Questions about specific experience can be tricky to answer well. For instance: “Could you give an example of when you’ve come up with an innovative solution to a difficult problem?”, requires a careful but concise response. Breaking down the reply into three parts will help:
- Explain the problem you were faced with – this gives context.
- Talk about the action you took to deal with the problem.
- Highlight that your approach worked by talking about the result.
Always prepare your own questions to ask the interviewers. After all, you’ll need to decide whether or not you’d like to work there if you’re offered the job.
Get new interview gear
A smart outfit will make you feel confident and look professional so take time to find something you feel very comfortable in. Some creative companies don’t mind interviewees wearing smart-casual clothes.If you’re not sure, ask about a dress code or if you know someone who already works there, ask them for advice. But if you prefer to err on the side of caution then go for a stylish suit.
Plan your journey
Check transport connections in advance or, if driving, figure out the route and nearby parking. Give yourself plenty of time so when you arrive you’re cool and collected. If you’re early pop into a nearby coffee shop and go through your notes one last time.
What to take
- Take your portfolio and a few copies of your CV in case interviewers ask to see them.
- During the interview
- First impressions count
Body language can be very revealing! To look confident, make eye contact with all interviewers and give firm handshakes when you arrive. Try to smile and relax (but no slouching!). When you answer questions, make eye contact with everyone as you speak.
Interviewers also want to see enthusiasm, so show ambition, energy, commitment and a willingness to learn.
Answering the questions
This is where your mock interview practise pays off! Pause to consider answers to tricky questions. After all, you only get one chance to give your best response.
Keep your answers clear and don’t ramble. If you don’t understand a question ask for it to be repeated or ask for clarification. Also, very importantly, don’t speak too quickly.
To show your interest in the role, at the end of the interview ask when you’ll hear about a decision and who you can contact if you have more questions.
Give yourself a pat on the back and relax! If you don’t hear from the company according to the expected timescale, send a brief email or make a call to find out whether a decision has been made. There may be a delay at their end.
Should you not get the job, be polite and accept the decision. Ask for feedback so you can use it for your future job search.Be positive and focus on getting another job that fits you like a glove!
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