What to wear and how to prepare for a job interview

Job interview

Top tips for nailing an interview

Be prepared for the question, “What do you know about us?” or “Why do you want to work for us?” Research both the company and the industry. You should be able to find out information about the company on their website. If they have a blog and social media presence, that can also be a useful place to look.

Be on time. If your interview is in an area you don't know well, practise your route to guarantee you don’t get lost.

Try to stay calm and relaxed. If you need to take a moment to think about an answer, then explain that to your interviewers rather than start your answer with “um…”

Know your CV. Your interviewer will prepare their questions based on the information you provided on your CV or application. Remember to be positive about your skills and experiences.

Prepare. Research common job interview questions and practise your answers. This will help you feel more relaxed going into the interview.

Practise. The more familiar interviewing feels to you, the more relaxed you will feel. Meet with mentors, colleagues and friends for mock interviews to gain confidence in answering routine interview questions.

Don’t panic. If you are stuck on how to answer a question, don’t be afraid to stop and think before answering. Take a sip of water if you need to.

Plan your outfit. Make sure your clothes are smart but comfortable. It is always better to be too smart than too casual.

Follow up after the interview. This should be a short email within 24 hours of your interview to thank the interviewer for their time and to say that you are looking forward to hearing from them.

The STAR method

The STAR interview method is a way of answering an interview question by talking about the Situation, Task, Action and Result of the situation you are describing.

Questions about the way you have handled certain work situations show the interviewer how you might apply your skills and experience to a similar situation in the future.

Situation

Describe the event or situation you were in

Whilst working as a retail assistant, I was faced with hundreds of irritated customers as we headed towards the busy Christmas period.

Task

Explain the task you had to complete

To ensure that all the customers left the shop feeling satisfied, I was tasked with reducing the customer queuing time by 30%.

Action

Describe the specific actions you took to complete the task

I hired and trained three new members of staff to support the team. I also created an extra queuing line to stop overcrowding.

Result

Close with the result of your actions

As a result of my actions, we had the most successful Christmas period to date.