Face to Face Interview Guide & Tips
FRAME Recruitment is passionate about providing the best advice to you in your career. We have put together our top interview tips in this handy face to face interview guide that will help to present the best version of yourself.
Conducting a successful interview is based on three key elements and we have split this guide into three sections:
Before your Interview
Pre-interview preparation is a great way to make yourself feel more confident about your interview and set you on your way to success. It is just as important to do the interview preparation as the interview itself is. There are several factors you need to take into consideration.
Timings and location
Before we start planning on how you are going to 'wow' your interviewer, it is vital to discuss the time, date and location of your interview.
After discussing the logistics of your interview with your specialist FRAME Recruitment Consultant and you have received your interview confirmation, make sure you take note of it and diarise the exact time, date and location of the interview. Think about how long the journey to the interview is going to take, and whether you will be driving yourself by car, or using public transport. Having it clear in your mind what time you need to leave home or work to arrive on time for your interview, will help you to feel prepared and more relaxed.
Do your research on the business and the interviewer/s
The practice or business website is good for this. If you want to stand out from the crowd and enhance your research even further, research recent projects, and news articles - go that extra mile, it will pay off. Do you know someone who works there already? Speak to them.
Utilise LinkedIn and check out your interviewer/s profile(s). This will show them great initiative and might even give you some common ground to talk about, including people you both know. Remember to request to connect with them, or utilise the 'follow' functionality. Putting a face to a name will build familiarity before you have met them and might even help settle your nerves.
On the subject of LinkedIn, before you connect with your interviewer/s, make sure your work experience and employment tenures match up with those on your CV. Gaps or different dates and information could raise a concern with your potential employer regarding honesty and attention to detail.
Your potential employer will ask questions about you in your interview. Pre-empt this and prepare for questions or concerns they might have about you. Think about any skills or knowledge gaps that you have - how will you prove you are still the right person for the job? Most employers will want to know why you want to leave your current employer. Be prepared with a good answer.
If you have spent any time unemployed, think about how you used that time and what skills it has taught you, for example, resilience or perseverance. Showing that you can be adaptable to situations and take the best out of them could make you a very attractive candidate.
Prepare questions for the interview/s too. The research that you did on the practice or business should highlight some areas that you would like to know more about. Showing an interest in what they are doing and how you could be part of it shows enthusiasm and a genuine desire for the job itself. Remember to write your questions down and have them ready for the interview itself.
Even if the interview has already covered the answers to the questions you wanted to ask, they will be impressed that you had questions prepared.
Dress to impress
These days, even in a professional office, the dress code can vary from formal (suit and tie) to business casual and even jeans and trainers ‘casual’. However, don’t make the assumption that this is the expected attire for the interview.
Always go smarter and dress to impress. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, your hair is tidy, and your shoes are polished. Take a last look in the mirror on the way out and say to yourself, “would I hire me?”
During your Interview
You have now done all your preparation for your interview, now it is time for the face to face interview itself.
Don't arrive late
This is probably one of the most common and most frustrating ‘no no’ as it’s so easy to get right. We know there will always be exceptional circumstances, but generally, if you allow plenty of time, plan your route, and know what the parking arrangements are (if applicable), you will make it on time, ideally a little early. Getting to the interview 5-10 minutes early shows you are keen and on it and will allow you to catch your breath, settle your nerves, pop to the toilet/freshen up, take in your surroundings, and just mentally get prepared.
Don't be too early
There is such a thing as being too early though, if you are any earlier than 10 minutes, go and get a coffee or wait outside.
First impressions count, so make it a good one
Arriving at your interview on time or 5 to 10 minutes early, as well as looking smart and professional is going to be a great start. Follow this up with a great smile, firm handshake and confident introduction/ice breaker “Hi Rachel, I’m Joe Smith, thank you for seeing me today. Have you had a good day so far?”
Control your nerves
Great preparation before your interview will help you to feel more confident, in control and able to deal with the unexpected. Always ask for a glass of water, it’s a good ice breaker. Having the glass of water on standby will help you slow down your speech. Nerves can give you a dry mouth and an unwanted frog in your throat, so be prepared.
Having a notepad and pen can also enable you to write down any notes that you might want to refer to later, leaving you to concentrate on the questions being asked.
Take a few copies of your CV with you
This shows initiative and is a chance to give a more recent version if asked for. Always print more copies than needed and casually leave one on the desk in front of you, it might be a useful reference point for you during the interview. You’d be amazed how much you can forget when you are under pressure in an interview.
Work the room, don’t just look at or talk to the person you think is the decision-maker. There will be a good reason for everyone else being there so scan the room when talking, acknowledge and make good eye contact with everyone at some point.
Smile and listen
Smiling will make you look and sound more confident.
It can be hard to stay silent when you are keen to impress your interviewer. Listening is an essential skill in every job and your interview is a great opportunity to show how good you are at it. Listen to understand, rather than to always respond. Try not to interrupt the person talking.
This is a great time to take down notes that you might not remember after the interview. Listening will also help to generate some good questions for you to ask too.
Talk positively, in the future tense where possible and sell yourself
There are some candidates that unfortunately get remembered for the wrong reason - they talked negatively about their previous jobs or employers, often blaming them for their lack of performance or success. Employers want to hear about what you have done before, but they also want to hear how you will add value to them in the future.
We have a saying here at FRAME Recruitment, 'sell don't tell'. Your interview is your chance to sell your skills, achievements and how you will add value. Be as positive and forward-thinking as you can.
Close the interview on a positive
Your interview is coming to an end, thank your interviewer for their time and ask for any initial feedback. If you want the job, tell the interviewer that you are very interested in the opportunity.
Ask the interviewer what the next step will be. Will there be another interview? When will they be making a decision? How many other people are they interviewing?
After your Interview
Last impressions also count
Whilst the interview may officially be over, remember that you are still potentially under review until you leave the client’s premises and are fully out of view. Lighting a cigarette, the minute you step foot outside the client's office might not be the best move, who knows who is watching from the window above.
Call your FRAME Recruitment Consultant
As soon as your interview has ended, call your FRAME Recruitment Consultant to let them know how you think your interview went.
After this conversation, your FRAME Recruitment Consultant will be able to start moving the process forward and discuss the next steps with the interviewer.
Follow up with an email
A nicely written email to the interviewer thanking them for their time and following up with any information that they have requested is a great opportunity to impress them. It will also show that you are keen to progress further with the opportunity.
Ask for interview feedback - the great, the good and the bad
Whether your interview was a success or not, always ask your FRAME Recruitment Consultant for feedback on how you did. They will chase this for you, as it is important you know how to improve next time.
Remember the old saying that 'practice makes perfect'. Even if you are not offered the job this time, every interview is a good experience and an opportunity to learn.
Now that you have all the tools to succeed in your interview, we wish you the very best of luck.
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