Job Interviews: Making a Good Impression
Going for a job interview can be a daunting prospect. However, there are a number of things you can do to make a good impression and preparation is key!
1. Research the organisation you are applying to.
What are their values and objectives? Do they have any interesting projects coming up? How can you include this information into your interview answers to show you are aware of the company’s culture and an interest in their future goals. Read the job description and person specification carefully so you understand the job and employer’s expectations.
2. Spend some time coming up with potential questions and answers based on the essential criteria of the job.
Short scripts and practice your answers (this could be with a friend or in the mirror!) will help give you confidence and make you feel more prepared. Don’t forget to prepare one or two questions to ask the employer – this could be related to the company culture, the size of the team, the potential for employee development or even why the people interviewing you like where they work.
3. Plan your interview outfit.
Make sure you have something smart (but comfortable!) to wear. Smart Works (for women) and Suited and Booted (for men) can set you up with free interview clothing. Plan your journey and get to the interview 15 minutes before the start time to give yourself time to find the right part of the building and to go over your interview notes.
4. Be aware of your body language.
Keep your body language open, smile and make strong eye contact.
5. Give real-life examples when answering questions.
Structure your answers and give context using the STAR technique:
To enhance your answers, explain not only ‘what’ you did but also ‘how’ you did it (e.g. I worked ‘methodically’, ‘collaboratively’ or ‘patiently’. This will help you highlight how your work ethic and personality are a good match for the employer and the job role.
6. After the interview send the interviewers a thankyou email.
Thank them for the opportunity to attend the interview and to confirm your interest in the role.
7. Feedback, Feedback, feedback.
Always ask for feedback, even if you get the job. This will give you insight into your interview strengths and areas for development, which can be invaluable when preparing for future interviews.
Catherine Di Lella
Career Management Service, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust