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Amy Bourne



3rd February 2017



Our top tips for your first interview

Interviews can take different forms, depending on the organisation. You could be asked to attend an informal chat over coffee, or a series of interviews with increasingly senior employees. You may need to complete a test, task or presentation – or have a simple Q&A discussion.

Whatever the format of your interview, it’s important to do your best – and that means being prepared. Here, we’ve put together our top tips for making the best impression.

Always do your research

One of the best ways to prepare for an interview is to research the company and role. Not only will it demonstrate your initiative and interest, it will also make you feel more confident which, in turn, will be evident in your body language.

Start by reading about the company on its website – especially any About, Services and News pages – and search online for additional media coverage. You can also read the company’s corporate reports to gain insight on strategic goals and performance. After all, the greater your understanding, the better you’re able to answer questions.

You may also find it useful to research key members of the business, such as the Managing Partner, to help you understand the company’s culture. And to reduce any fear of the unknown, research your interviewers on LinkedIn and the company’s own biography pages.

Understand your future role

Demonstrating a clear understanding of your future role will help you make a positive impression. Analyse the job description and highlight any areas that aren’t clear, so you can ask for more information during the interview.

And review your own CV, of course. Understand how it relates to the role and identify relevant examples of your experience and achievements.

Practice and prepare

Without doubt, one of the best ways to prepare is to arrange a mock interview with a friend, colleague or family member, so you can practice formulating your answers aloud.

Where possible, find out the format of the interview in advance. If, for example, it involves competency based questions, you can prepare by using the ‘STAR’ method. There are also a number of ‘standard’ interview questions which you’ll find online, so think about and outline your answers beforehand.

It can be very helpful to video your practice session and then analyse your body language and verbal habits. You may find you repeat one phrase too much, or your body language doesn’t mirror the impression you want to create. Knowing this in advance gives you time to rectify any issues.

While practising your answers is a key part of being prepared, it’s also important to manage the logistics of your interview. The day before, make sure to plan your route, calculate travel time, prepare your clothes, print a copy of your CV and the job description, and bring a notepad and pen. Arriving empty-handed can sometimes create a negative impression.

During the interview

We’re trained to evaluate body language, whether consciously or subconsciously, so start with a good handshake, sit up, make eye contact, appear interested and try to muster confident and relaxed body language. You may find it helpful to take deep breaths and pause before answering questions so you can formulate your answer.

It’s always beneficial to have some questions prepared. Asking questions will demonstrate your engagement with the process and your interest in the role.

Dress for success

It may seem obvious, but first impressions are crucial. The way you dress conveys a lot about your commitment to the role and your understanding of the company’s culture. For corporate environments, be sure to wear a suit.

Arriving flustered or appearing unkempt can undermine the success of your interview. So it’s always advisable to prepare your outfit in advance and leave plenty of time to get ready – making sure you have clean clothes, clean shoes, clean hands and well-groomed hair.

Our final advice? Try and enjoy the experience. An interview is as much about seeing if you’re right for the job as seeing if the job is right for you. If you’re confident in your preparations and give it your best shot, then you’ve done everything you can. So there’s no need for us to wish you good luck!

To learn more about a career with Thrings, visit our careers page.

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