Do your homework!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again and keep saying it – proper preparation is vital. Learn all you can about the company you hope will be your new employer. Hit Google and check out the website and any other material online from local newspapers, the national press and trade publications. Have they got a Twitter account or a Facebook page? Research the firm’s history and make yourself familiar with how the current business operates, including the team structure, as well as future plans for expansion. Perhaps a big, new contract is in the offing? This information is a map which will direct you to the right answers at interview. It’s your chance to impress by showing you have genuine interest and enthusiasm. At Rayner Personnel, you can rely on us to help you with exactly this kind of background research, so just ask.

Start with the basics:

Remember when you were at school and the first rule for exam success was to read the question? Well interviews are no different – re-read the job description and make a checklist of the skills and experience you have which is directly applicable to the post. Be prepared to talk clearly and confidently about how your CV qualifies you for the job and if there are any gaps, be ready to show off your flexibility and adaptability by flagging up how you have added new skills in the past. It’s all about identifying how you are the best fit for the company, so concentrate on the benefits you bring to the table such as familiarity with the industry or systems.

Keep calm and stay focused:

Try and keep cool. A barrage of questions can make even the most confident interviewee stutter and stumble. Don’t be afraid to pause and if you don’t understand a question, say so – it’s far better than rambling or simply getting it wrong. Collect your thoughts and carry on, keeping to the question.

Stay upbeat:

The first and last impression you give the interviewer should be positive, so they are in no doubt you would be an asset to their organisation. Leave any negativity at home and don’t grumble or gripe about previous employers when explaining why you left previous roles. If you felt over-worked and under-appreciated at your last post, suggest you left because you were looking for a more fulfilling career. If a period of redundancy has left a gap in your employment history, show how you used the time to add to your professional skillset or personal development. You can also suggest that the opportunity to reflect on your career has made it clear the job you’re now applying for is the next step you’ve been waiting for. If the interviewer throws you a curveball with a quirky question, embrace the chance to stand out from the crowd with an innovative, memorable and most importantly positive answer. Where exactly would you like to be in five years? Think about it…