Struggling with placement or job interviews? Lizzie Akass gives her Top 5 pieces of advice to help you through!
Do your research!
Even if you researched the company before applying for the job, this is still essential to do before your interview to refresh your memory, and to check if they have any new updates that are important or relevant to you. Depending on the company, just thoroughly browsing their website might be fine. However, if they branch out to leaflets, books, youtube videos, or any other form of media, do try and have a look. This is so important not only in terms of educating yourself in the kind of work you’ll be involved in, but it also impresses employers if they can see that you’ve done your research and take the position seriously. It might also help you assess what skills or attributes in particular the company looks for, and can help give you a guide on what to talk about in your interview.
Cover the basics
Regardless of what you are interviewing for, dressing smartly shows that you respect the position, company, and interviewers. Every single job you have gives you experience and transferrable skills, so whether you’re interviewing for your dream job, or something short-term, show that you respect the position, as your time there will be valuable. Also, be punctual to your interview, maybe 10-15 minutes early, and smiling and being polite are essential. Don’t let being nervous make you come across as reserved or rude.
No experience? Think again.
You may not have direct work experience linking you to the particular job or company you’ve applied for, but use what you have and pull out applicable skills. Previous jobs in retail or waiting in restaurants may not link you directly to car companies or magazines, but they show that you learn new skills quickly, work well in a team, under pressure, to strict deadlines, and that you have good communicative skills. Any clubs or societies you are part of or help to run around university, show that you have organisational skills, time management abilities, enthusiasm for the job, and ability to work well with other people. Even things like babysitting or pet sitting show that you’re trustworthy, reliable, and punctual. If it’s an entry-level position or a placement for students, they shouldn’t expect you to have ten years of work experience in their field, just work with what you have done. Furthermore, if asked about a particular skill, use a specific example to answer and go into detail.
Prepare answers in advance
Obviously you won’t know exactly what you’re going to be asked, but there are a few questions that often come up in interviews that stump people. Think about answers you could give that are honest, but still show you in a positive light to questions such as: ‘what could you bring to this company?’, ‘what would you say is your biggest flaw in the work place?’ (Little tip for this one – it’s great to say an example of a flaw you had which you have now overcome, and explain how), ‘what makes you want to work at our company in particular?’ – and many more. It’s also good to think of a few things to ask when it’s your turn to ask questions, such as what the atmosphere is like at work, what the company’s aims are for the next five years etc.
Use the Careers and Employability Centre
They’re there for a reason! They’re extremely helpful and offer a huge range of facilities, such as talks on everything interview and career-wise, a drop-in service for quick questions, mentoring, and much more. You would pay a lot for the same service outside of university, so definitely worth making the most of it whilst it’s free and so accessible.