6th November 2023
For my fellow third year students, I got you. Before we know it, we will be drowning in work interviews and applying to jobs for after graduation (what a positive note to start on, sorry about that). Surely though, it’s more exciting than scary, right…RIGHT? A REAL LIFE JOB. For the most part it can seem terribly daunting and a little bit of a gotta get my life together moment but we are all in the same boat and smashing that interview is easier than it seems! I hope this 101 piece on how to ace that interview gives you some valuable of support and advice from someone who is going through the same and has completed many, many interviews for work experience, although for more professional support the university’s careers office is always open.
What are you like, what type of person are you, what are you interested in? This is arguably the most important aspect of the interview; be enthusiastic, show genuine passion and drive for the type of work that you are pursuing. Be bubbly and vivacious (even if you are shaking violently under the table haha, we’ve all been there!). A warm smile goes a long way and if you are chatty and have a vibrancy about you, it will also put your interviewer at ease! No-one throughly enjoys the somewhat tedious process of interviewing, so make their day a little brighter with your energy and it’s likely they will remember you. This is so important because at the end of the day, the person interviewing you is evaluating whether you could be a positive influence to the team and whether they want to work with someone like you.
So, the key to how to ace that interview really isn’t about showing off and listing your capabilities, it’s about how you can make the experience listed in your CV applicable and showing what you have learnt from these valuable moments. I think it’s best in the interview to casually reflect on your experience, be humble yet show pride in the work you have achieved.
This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many interviewees slip up because they don’t know the answer to a question which centres on the company they want to work for. You should know the company like the back of your hand, so get to grips with the people in the team and their roles (see LinkedIn), company history, mission statements, targets, audience, sales, and marketing. However, you then need to tailor this to why you want this specific job. Do not make the famous mistake of only reading the About Us page on their website.
I think you’ll be glad to know it is not all about you. An interview should be an interesting convo, not a series of back and forth abrupt question and answers! Let them talk, ask them questions, engage in what is being said and do not ramble. Most people go into an interview extremely nervous; however, every single time after I finish an interview I have thought OH, that was actually quite fun. 9/10 times your interviewer is going to be welcoming and warming, not stern and quiet. However, if this is the case, gauge the energy being given to you and work with what you’ve got. Adaptability and flexibility are key skills! Obviously everyone interviews differently, so it’s all about being flexible with different employers.
Always send a follow-up email thanking your interviewer. This is a gracious act that will help keep you at the front of the interviewers mind and might help make you memorable. Respect is almost always a given in job situations, but going that extra mile and out of your way to show appreciation and consideration can’t hurt anyone! It will take you 30 seconds and could be the make or break so go for it. Ace that interview! Go get ’em!