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.
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.
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%.
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.
Close with the result of your actions
As a result of my actions, we had the most successful Christmas period to date.
Interview top tips from PwC employees
Do you need some tips for interviews? Here are some top tips from PwC employees on how to boss an interview.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational professional services network of firms, operating as partnerships under the PwC brand. PwC ranks as the second-largest professional services network in the world.
- Ask questions. You aren't expected to know or understand everything so ask questions where you can. Make a note of a couple of areas from their website that you would like to understand better and ask the question when you are given the opportunity.
- Research. When being interviewed make sure you research the company (this sounds obvious but you would be surprised at the number of candidates that do not). Make sure you know what the company’s values are and to demonstrate this. Have a good look at the company website and social media channels, as well as any news items in the press. Have they won any recent awards, or been involved in any community projects? Is there a particular project you find really interesting and would love to be involved in that you can reference?
- Take your time. When I interview people I always attempt to put interviewees at ease, I explain how long the interview will last and explain the structure of the interview. I always tell candidates to take their time when answering questions as there is a tendency to want to answer as quickly as possible – don’t be afraid to take your time. It's OK to be nervous, so if you say something wrong or need a bit more time to think about an appropriate answer, just ask the interviewer for a few seconds to think.
- It's a conversation. Remember that the interview works both ways so think of it as a conversation, not an interrogation. The employer wants to find out whether they want to employ you, and see if you're the right fit for their company. But don't forget that you also want to find out whether you want to work there and if they're the right fit for you!
- Be yourself. Authenticity really shines through. If you are interested in community work, take a look at that section on their website e.g. outreach programmes, involvement in the local community. Let them know that you find this interesting. Employers really value staff who have a broader interest than the day job.