Top tips for job interview success

Caroline Cassidy

Whether you have fallen victim to redundancy, searching for your first job or simply looking to move up the career ladder, the dreaded job interview is an inevitable and essential part of the process. Having composed an eye-catching CV, it's important not to blow it face-to-face, so here are some top tips for success at the interview stage.

Young woman being interviewed
Young woman being interviewed

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Be punctual
In fact, be early - plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes prior to your appointed time. Late arrivals create a bad first impression while turning up too early can create an awkward situation for the employer. Be sure to know exactly where you are going and how you are getting there before the journey.

Be prepared
A little pre-interview research can go a long way - make a note of the company's activities, prospects and successes. Not only is it likely that the interview will want to know that you fully understand the nature of the business but it will help you to clarify what the position applied for involves. That way you can come equipped with informed questions about where the company is headed in the future as well as the potential for promotion. Similarly, be ready with examples of previous experiences or situations that may be relevant to the company.

Be positive
Should the interviewer bring up a past failure or weakness, don't respond with excuses and negativity. Instead, try to concentrate on the facts and explain what you gained from the experience, thereby highlighting your ability to learn from your mistakes. Almost all interviews include a conversation about your weaknesses as well as your strengths so anything that puts a positive spin on past or present problems is a plus.

Be professional
Aside from the obvious smart attire, a professional attitude and outlook is essential if you are to impress a potential employer. Ensure you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and speak clearly and enthusiastically about relevant skills and experience. Don't feel that you must answer any tricky questions instantly - the interview panel will be far more impressed by a considered and thoughtful response so a short pause is perfectly acceptable.

Be natural
You are bound to be nervous before an important interview and employers understand this. But as well as finding out about your skills, work experience and potential, interviewers are keen to get an idea of your personality. Try to be natural and personable when responding - the chances are they're not looking for a robot and a polite but relatively relaxed approach shows that you have vital social skills.

Do you have any tips for interview success? Let us know below...