A question we are often asked when it comes to preparing for an interview is “What should I wear?”
Appearance is more important than most people realise. It is not a beauty competition but looking smart and well groomed will ensure that you are portraying yourself as a self assured, confident individual who will represent the company appropriately.
Before deciding what to wear, research the company.
- If the company require casual dress for their employees, it may not be appropriate to wear a suit and tie however a smart co-ordinating outfit would be appropriate. Jeans should never be worn for an interview and shirts and tops should be tucked in.
- For a contemporary, cutting edge company, dress in a modern and up to date fashion. An edgy suit may appeal to the style of the company and ensure you fit in to your surroundings. If unsure, look online for ideas or please call for advice.
- A more traditional company would call upon a stricter dress code so a classic suit in tradition colours would be ideal.
However, if you are still unsure, always go for the traditional suit option. It is important that you feel comfortable and confident.
- Accessories – handbags and briefcases should be smart, clean, and not garish.
- Outfits should be clean, ironed, free of animal hair and fraying hems.
- Shoes should be clean and polished and high heels should be comfortable for walking (it is advisable to avoid anything too high).
- Jewellery should be unfussy, although do not avoid reflecting your personality! Make up minimal and nail varnish should be neat and not peeling.
- Perfume or aftershave should be subtle and not overpowering.
Here are a few tips/techniques that we have put together to help you through your interview. However if you have any questions or would like to discuss anything about your upcoming interview, please do not hesitate to call or email us.
- Prepare your route to the interview, leave plenty of extra travel time to get there.
- Do your research – know all about the company and who will be conducting the interview. Think about the direction they are going, where you would fit in and be familiar with any of their recent projects.
- Think of some questions they could ask during the interview and practise answering them.
- Make sure you know the job specification that they are recruiting you for and how you could fulfil the role.
- Read over your CV to ensure you remember how you initially sold yourself.
- Prepare a question of your own.
- Take a copy of your CV with you, presented on clean white paper and not folded.
- Remember to turn your phone off.
- Breathe – practice taking slow deep breaths to help calm your nerves.
- Show confidence in your body language – stand tall (do not stoop) and always maintain eye contact.
- Be courteous to everyone you meet.
- Talk slowly and clearly. Do not mumble or talk too quickly as this will convey nervousness.
- Look alert and attentive.
- Give examples of when you’ve used the skills they’re asking for.
- If you are questioned about a work skill that you do not have, try to use an example from your personal life or you could explain what you would do in a certain situation.
- If you’re asked about your experience, the STAR technique can be useful – talk about the Situation you were in, the Task in front of you, the Action you took, and the Result of your action.
- Take time to answer questions (think before you speak).
- If you do not understand the question, ask the interviewer for more explanation.
- Give full answers, do not answer with just “yes” or “no”.
Talking about difficult situations
- If you have been out of work for sometime, talk about what you have done to ensure you have kept your skills. You may have undertaken some voluntary work, joined a local community group, taken a course to update your skills or attended networking groups. Anything that has kept your skills in your field relevant is worth mentioning.
- If you were dismissed from your last role for misconduct or poor performance, talk about this in a positive way. Focus positively on what you learnt from this experience and how you can take this with you to your next role to ensure this will not be repeated.
- If you took voluntary redundancy explain how you reached the decision that this was right for your future.
What not to do
- Do not answer questions negatively, always answer positively. If talking about a negative situation, turn this into a positive one, explaining how and what you learnt from this negative situation.
- Do not talk badly of previous employers or colleagues.
- Do not mention salary or benefits unless the interviewer approaches the subject.
- Do not interrupt the interviewer.
- Do not lie.
- Avoid talking about politics or religion. Subjects where people hold strong personal beliefs should be avoided.
- Do not swear or use slang words.
- Never assume that you have got the job – employers do not favour overconfident candidates.