Avoiding Common Job / Apprenticeship Interview MistakesPosted: 21st of March 2016 by
We may not be able to help you with your nerves on the day of your job or apprenticeship interview, but these pieces of advice should help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes. From how you speak to the interviewer, to what you wear, your body language, and your attitude these tips should see you sail through the interview – or at least not trip yourself up! The goal of an interview is to present yourself in a good light while impressing the interviewer with how you are the right person for the job. Each interview, company and interviewer can be very different – which is why the first tip here is…
- Do Your Homework
Don’t go into the interview without knowing a little bit about the employer. Just like a spy would need to be briefed on their mission, so you should make sure to get all the background information you can about your employer. Check the company website (most places have one), and see what they are all about – what they do, and how. You can also often find out something about the company ethos. You will want to be able to show how your personality and skills are perfect for them, so you need to know what they are after too. Check over the job specification and see how you match up with what they want. It is also a great idea to have a couple of pre-prepared questions that you can ask about the company – it all shows that you are an organised and conscientious person!
- Dress For The Interview
No matter what you think of ‘business clothes’ your interview is not the time to make a stand against them. Your interviewer may be formal and is likely to be older than you, with some set ideas as to what a good candidate should be wearing. Make the right first impression by making sure you look the part, and bear in mind it is always better to be slightly over-dressed than to turn up looking under-dressed. You can always loosen your tie or take off your jacket if you need to look more casual. There is some argument to say that the business suit is passé, but it is perhaps best to play it safe, and make sure you are clean and smart!
- Sit Up Straight & Smile
Your body language speaks volumes, so you need to make sure you keep it in check. How your body language shapes how you are seen by others is a huge area of study, but keeping it short, you should avoid slouching, folding your arms (it looks defensive), playing with your hair, or fidgeting! Practicing your interview replies in the mirror can help calm those nervous tics on the big day, as will taking a few deep breaths before the interview itself. Also, don’t forget to smile! Finally, there is some confusion about whether you should shake hands or not – and how – but this very much depends on circumstances.
- Keep Your Answers Positive!
Keep your answers positive. Your future employer doesn’t want to hear what you didn’t like about school or your last job. Equally badmouthing your last boss or past colleagues is a bad idea. Focus on the positives and you will offer a better view of yourself. You want to come across as professional, positive, and upbeat – and moaning about the past won’t help with that! Rather than looking at negatives, point out your strengths and enthusiasm for the job.
If you could bottle and sell genuine self-confidence you’d be a very wealthy person, but there is no set formula for this magic ingredient. Each person has a different way of building their confidence so that they come across as personable, charismatic and, most importantly, employable! Genuine self-confidence (rather than cockiness) is appealing and can really make the difference between you and other candidates. Knowing your stuff and being prepared (see, ‘Do Your Homework’) and looking the part will certainly help, while good body language can cover some of your nerves. You might also want to try simply telling yourself (before the interview, when nobody is about) that you are wonderful and that you will be fine in the interview (or whatever positive words you want to use). Positive affirmations like these can have an amazing effect on your self-belief – it’s a bit like tricking your own brain!
Getting these things right may not guarantee that you get the job, but they will certainly greatly improve your chances. Of course, if you don’t make it through and get the job you can always learn from the experience for next time!
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