Over the past few months I’ve written a lot of posts on how to get into marketing and advertising, but I recently started thinking that advice is probably no good, if you can’t even make it past the interview round – a common problem for a lot of people out there. 99% of the time it’s not even your fault; competition’s high. So I’ve written a post on some of the top interview tips to help you ace that daunting interview.
I recently started at a different company in a new marketing role, so having recently been through the interview process, the below interview tips are all very fresh in my mind still. These are the top interview tips which will help you to be one of the best candidates for your dream role.
Prepare – tailor your CV
There should be no quick solution when it comes to applying for a job. It’s not good enough to just write a bog standard CV and send that to all the roles and companies you like, you need to tailor it to the role and to the company you’re applying for. Look through the requirements in the job description and make sure you include your experience that matches those requirements in your CV. If you’re applying to a FMCG company and you have 5 years experience in that industry, talk about it!
Do you research
Research the company you’re applying for, the structure and who your likely boss(es) are. Also I know I touched on this lightly in my above point, but take the time to fully understand the job description. Read what’s required and expected and think about how you fit those needs, make a list and take it with you on the day.
Know the route
Being prepared for your interview also means knowing where you’re going. All travel routes should be covered; can you walk, drive, cycle, train or catch the tube there? You should work out what is best for you, how you get there and how long it takes. Look it up online – Google Maps & Streetview are great sources for working out your routes and what the area looks like so you’ve got familiar touch points.
You should also do the journey a day or so before your interview, so you get a feel for what the journey’s like. I’d recommend you leave at the same time you would be likely to leave for your actual interview. For example, if your interview is at 9am, then it’s likely there’s going to be some rush-hour traffic. Leaving at this time allows you to prepare and make adjustments to your travel time if needed.
Look the part
First impressions count for a lot at interviews. Smart wear, freshly cleaned and ironed go a long way. Make sure your shoes are respectable (no scuffs) and go fairly minimal in terms of appearance, don’t over do it.
Confidence is all about a nice big (natural) smile and a firm handshake. These sound like cliches, but they’re still very true. Interviews are incredibly nerve-wracking, that’s a fact. But you don’t have to let it show. Be polite, friendly, give your interview a nice smile and confident handshake and I believe the rest will follow suit naturally.
Have something to take
Interviewers and future employers love to see examples of your previous work and ideas (even if they don’t ask you to bring anything). In fact, if they don’t ask for anything, this is even more reason to bring something. It shows your keen, interested and passionate. It’s great to have another dimension to your interview too and to (slightly) take the focus off you and talk about something else.
I think this gets brought up a lot, but it’s important. Questions show you’re taking an active interest and that you’re really thinking about the role. I believe a lot of people seem to think that asking questions is a burden, or that there is such a thing as asking a stupid question – but I truly do not believe this. When your researching the company, or reading about the role and the job description make sure you think of questions as you go along, so you’re prepared on the day and not put on the spot when you’re asked “any questions?”
Know who’s interviewing you
Research the person who’s going to interview you, if you don’t know, as the person you applied to or a member of the HR team. They will be happy to help and if anything will be pleased to hear you are taking some initiative and asking important pre-interview questions.
How do you relate to the job spec?
I have mentioned this previously, but I think this is a huge factor on the success of your interview, so I think it deserved it’s own point. After all, your potential employer wants to know you’ve got the skills for the job and the experience for the job. So I think it’s vitally important that you really take the time to think this through and are prepared to illustrate how you’re the right fit for the role.
Similar to ‘looking the part’ and ‘being confident’, your body language is key to a good first impression. Don’t have your arms folded or your hands in your pockets, as these give off very negative vibes. When you’re sat down for your interview, keep your hands on the table, rather than under / in your lap, as your hands will naturally move as you speak and will allow you to express yourself. This comes across as both positive and confident.
The above 10 interview tips are my tried and tested rules. I live by them whenever I go for interview; I am not in any way guaranteeing these interview tips will get you the jobs, but I believe interviews are all about no regrets and knowing you did your best. Following these 10 interview tips always makes me feel confident that I did so.
What do you think of my interview tips? Perhaps you have your own you’d like to share? Pop them in the comments section below or let me know on Twitter, thanks!