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5 steps to prepare for your first interview

06 Dec
You’ve done your research, found your ideal job opportunity, and sent off your CV. Now it’s time for the interview. Congratulations! You’re almost at the last hurdle of the recruitment process, but the most important job remains: you need to impress the interviewer.

Statistics show that 33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether they’re going to hire you, you need to be prepared if you want to make a good first impression. 

Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you do just that.  

Do your research

Conduct some in-depth research into the company. Take a look at their website, their career site and their Linked In company profile, and find out what exactly it is that they do. What industry are they in? Do they sell something, if so, what and to whom? What service do they provide?  You want to be able to answer any questions about how much you know about the company, and even why you want to work for them. 

After that, carefully review the job description. What key personality traits and skills are they looking for, and how do you match up to them? For each trait, write down an example of how you’ve demonstrated it in the past: for instance, if they’re looking for somebody who works well in a team, include an example of when and how you’ve demonstrated teamwork skills in the past. By preparing in this way, you’ll have answers on hand when you’re asked why you’d be a good fit for the role.

Practice in advance

Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to practice. According to research, 67% of interviewers say that lack of eye contact is a mistake that many people make in an interview; holding a practice interview in advance will help you to fix any problems before the big day. You can ask your family or friends to stand in for the interviewer; alternatively, if you’d rather practice by yourself, answering your questions in front of a mirror is a great way of showing you whether your body language is right, and whether you’re making enough eye contact. 

Dress the part

65% of hiring managers reportedly say that the clothes you wear can be the deciding factor between two different candidates, so make sure that you dress the part! The clothes you wear should be slightly more formal than the company’s dress code: if it’s casual, then some smart work trousers/ skirt and a shirt or dress should be fine, but for any more formal or corporate organisation, be as smartly presented as possible, ideally wearing a suit.

In addition, make sure that the clothes you’re wearing are something you feel comfortable in. Dressing to impress is all well and good, but if you’re not at ease with what you’re wearing then that awkwardness will come through in the interview.

Get the timings right

There’s no excuse for being late in an interview. It’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make! 

To avoid it, plan your journey at least an hour in advance, just in case you encounter travel issues, or have some trouble finding the place in question. If you arrive early, you can always go to a coffee shop and look over your notes again, but it’s always better to be too early rather than too late.

Bring the right things with you

What should you bring with you if you want to prepare for an interview? First of all, print out a few copies of your CV to hand out to the interviewers, or to refer back to during the interview itself. You should also take a pen and notepad with you in case you wanted to make notes, as well as some chewing gum for beforehand (never during), just in case. Try to avoid bringing a hot drink with you into the office, too: though it might seem comforting, you don’t want one of the first things to say to a potential employer to be a question about where the bin is. 

Prepare for the future with DST

We’re passionate about nurturing early careers, and helping young adults enter the working world. In fact, our range of apprenticeships will help you grow and develop your skills, whilst also earning a working wage. Find out more and take charge of your career here. 

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