Let’s face it, interviews are not the traditional go to choice for entertainment. They are, at best, a necessary evil.

The scenario is now familiar - A new opportunity has come along, your dream job, a chance that simply cannot be overlooked and all that is standing between you and a greener pasture is that dreaded and yet unavoidable hour where your life will be drilled into by a complete stranger.

The common error these days is that people assume that there is not all that much you can do before interviews. Oh sure, you can have a quick format of the CV and a hurried scan of the company’s Wikipedia page but eventually all you can do is dust off your best suit, dig out your lucky tie and walk in praying that your hands are not too clammy. This is not true!!

Below are my top five ‘dos and don’ts’ that may help you land that dream job:


Do come up with questions:
This could be classified in the ‘obvious’ category’ but it’s amazing how many candidates come out of an interview saying things like, ‘I didn’t ask any questions, they covered it all in the interview’. Not good enough. Prospective employers are looking for someone who is genuinely interested in joining their organisation and someone who is curious about something will have questions. The main reason why a lot of people are so ill equipped with interrogatives leads nicely into my next point…

Please, please, please, do your research on the company:
It beggars belief how often people neglect this. Everyone had that friend in school who would show up to a Maths exam without a calculator because he thought it was Geography, spend the first five minutes desperately searching for a pen before giving up altogether and taking a nap. An extreme example perhaps, as no one will be expecting you to out quiz the CEO but by showing up with only a rough idea of what the company does you are shooting yourself in the foot that more often than not will end up with you limping ignominiously away.

Finally, do enjoy it:
I know people will read this last one and roll their eyes. ‘Don’t worry if you come last, as long as you enjoy it’. It is an overused phrase and, let’s be honest, if you are rounding the final bend of your 800m race at Sports day and you see the other racers have finished, showered and are now in their parents car heading home you are not going to be revelling in the participation of it all. However, when it comes to interviews it can be such a bonus. Get the hiring manager to like you and to buy into your personality and you are half way there. If you get across the impression of someone who would be genuinely agreeable to work with then it really can make all the difference.


Don’t turn up too early:
I am not going to insult anyone by pointing out that you should show up on time because a) that should be blindingly obvious to everyone and b) that is about as patronising as hinting it would be a good idea to wear shoes. But showing up too early can be just as detrimental to your chances. It is great that you are not leaving anything to chance, but rocking up to an interview half an hour early is the business equivalent of being invited round to lunch and then showing up before the milkman. By all means get there with plenty of time, but find a nearby café or shop and use the few minutes beforehand to compose yourself.

Don’t complain about your former company:
The question of why you are looking to move on from your current position will inevitably come up in any interview. When it does I cannot emphasise enough how much this question is not an opportunity to air your grievances. The sad truth is, not every relationship is a happy one and there are inevitably disgruntled employees looking for a new challenge, but you have to remember that the hiring manager will be looking for a cultural fit just as much as a professional one and whining piteously about the various injustices against you will not have them reaching to sign the dotted line. Always be respectful as you never know what the fall out could be.

Written by Ben Askins

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