Receiving an offer to interview is really exciting! It’s another step closer to your dream job. At this point, remember that you’ve already achieved something great in getting this far. Have a mini-celebration, give yourself a pat on the back, or high five, or mini-fist pump! Then start preparing. If you feel prepared you will feel more confident. This is an extremely important step and there’s much you can do to bolster your chances.
Preparing for the Questions
Thinking through the responses you could give to possible interview questions will help you answer with more ease and clarity on the day. Going through interview questions before-hand can feel like really hard work but it’s of huge benefit. You’ll be more confident in your answer and you’ll look more prepared – which will help you make a good impression.
We’ve brought together a comprehensive list of interview questions that you can download and use to ensure you’re as prepared as possible. When formulating your answers make sure you always word them as positively as possible. It’s really easy to be negative about difficult experiences at work but you must put a positive spin on everything, such as highlighting that you learnt a great deal from a difficult situation.
Know Where You’re Going
Make sure you know exactly where you’re going and double check the time and date. Know the route and know the details of the area when you get there. Google Street View is really handy for this, providing the location’s not too remote. This will help reduce nerves and ensure you arrive looking calm and collected. Also, if you’re going to a larger facility or estate, you may need to double check the entrance you should be using, as many of them have more than one.
What to Wear?
Basically wear something that best suits the position and the company. If you’re interviewing for yard work then wear smart, clean, intact yard clothes! Ones you would never in reality wear to muck out a horse, but that look unmistakably equine.
If you’re interviewing for office work there are two levels of business attire you can opt for. Think about where you’re interviewing and select accordingly. If you’re interviewing for an office position based in central London, or somewhere that’s purely an office location. Then full business attire might be most appropriate. However, if you’re going to a large stud for example, perhaps a slightly less corporate look would suffice and suit the surroundings a little better, such as smart/casual trousers instead of suit trousers and ladies in flatter shoes rather than heels, just in case you’re taken for a tour of the estate!
What to Take?
Take anything you’ve been asked to provide such as certificates. It’s also helpful to take a copy of your CV, your covering letter and the job description; as well as a pen! Other than this, take the absolute minimum of belongings, you don’t want to be fiddling with too much stuff as it’ll make you feel self conscious and lose focus.
All sorts of things can happen and delay you on the way. Play safe and aim to get to the general area early – this will help you to remain calm. Google Street View comes in handy again, as you can search the surrounding area for a decent coffee shop. Use this time to prepare as you feel necessary, this might be having a final run through of your responses or emptying your mind and attempting to relax. From here it’s easier to time your arrival at the interview more precisely, aim for 10 minutes early.
Prepare yourself for anything. If you have an interview situation pictured in your head, try not to be too put off your stride if you find something entirely different. For example, you may expect a smart boardroom style interview from a large organisation but end up in a tack room – or the other way around. Be prepared to go with the flow! Interviews can range from an informal chit chat, to skills tests, role plays and an entire half day of different assessments.
It’s really important to be yourself, but also to be aware of your body language as it does play a big part in how you’re perceived. There are a few basic things to try and remember that’ll help you come across well:
- Try not to create physical barriers through crossing your arms
- Keep natural eye contact – don’t stare but do look at the interviewer
- Remember to smile when greeting people and during the interview
- Try not to display nerves through fidgeting
After your preparation, you’re going to be fine with this. Stay calm, answer with confidence and try to keep your answers focussed. If you don’t know something be honest and say you don’t know, don’t fluff through it. You can say it positively – that you don’t know, but you’d love to learn, or it sounds really interesting I’ll go away and look into that.
You’ll be asked at the end if you have any questions for them. This is a chance to show you’ve researched the company. Have some questions prepared and add any that came to mind during the interview. Ask anything that’s important to you and also try and convey an interest in the future of the company. Your questions could cover what you’d like to know about the company, the working environment, or the remainder of the selection process, such as when they expect to make the decision.
The interview is a two way process and an opportunity for you to asses if you’d like the job. Did you like the sound of it? It’s perfectly acceptable to change your mind after hearing more about the role. Know what your response will be, whether you want to accept, reject or negotiate some detail!
We have to talk about rejection – if you receive a rejection, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it wasn’t the right job for you and more will come. Be positive and remember you’ve just had some excellent practice and can use the experience to build upon your interview technique. You can also request feedback, to help identify areas to improve. Keep going, you’ll find the right opportunity for you.