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Here, Chris Stappard, Managing Director of Edward Reed Recruitment, gives us his expert tips to help you get through your next tough job interview.

Interviews can be tough and there isn’t a person out there who enjoys them. If you’ve got one lined up, you might be wondering how you can make yourself stand out from everyone else. From calming your nerves to answering difficult questions, I’ll be taking you through my top five tips to help you ace a difficult interview.

Prepare beforehand

It always helps to prepare before an interview. In the days leading up to it, look through the job advert and pick out any areas they might ask you about. Write down the points you’d like to cover to showcase your experience and expertise in response to each question. Then, research the company, including their company ethos and USPs. Not only will this help you get a better understanding of your interviewers,  but taking an interest in the business can show you’ll be dedicated to the role.

Beat the interview nerves

It’s normal to feel nervous before an interview, but the key is to not let your nerves outshine your talent. Before your interview, try a few things to help you relax, like drinking some herbal tea or trying a bit of mindful breathing. This will slow your heart rate and stop you speaking too quickly when you’re sitting in front of your interviewers. You should also try to avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee before your interview, as these can raise your heart rate and make you even more shaky.

It can help to plan something nice for after your interview. It could be something small, like going home and watching a film, or something more exciting, like a meal out or a weekend away. Whatever it is you have planned, it’ll give you something nice to focus on, instead of your pre-interview jitters.

Perfect your body language

When you enter the interview room, remember to smile, shake everyone’s hand, and sit with good posture. Although you’ll want to sit comfortably, try not to lean back or slouch in the chair, as this can give off the wrong impression. Instead, try to leave a small gap between your back and the seat and sit up straight. Then, keep your head up and try to maintain regular eye contact with each interviewer as you speak.

You might be tempted to place your hands underneath the table to hide your shaking, but this can make you seem unconfident. Instead, have your hands out on the table in front of you, but never cross them, as this can make you seem uninterested. If you’re worried about fidgeting in your interview, ask for a glass of water before you go in. Then, if you feel like you need to fidget, take a drink instead. This will also give you time to collect your thoughts if you’re faced with a tough question.

Answer those difficult questions

A good interviewer will always ask at least one tough question. Not only is this to see how you will answer, but how well you can cope under pressure and think of solutions on the spot. Here’s how to answer some of those tricky questions:

  • What’s your biggest weakness? Mention only one weakness here and try to avoid cliché answers like “I’m too much of a perfectionist”. Instead, think of an actual, genuine weakness and give an example of how you’ve overcome it to avoid being too negative and putting them off. For example, maybe you’ve struggled to maintain a work life balance, so now you leave your laptop at work to avoid checking emails.
  • Why do you want to work for us? State why you feel you’d be a good fit for the company. Do you like their approach to their work? Do you feel you could really make a difference to the company?
  • Why should I hire you? Differentiate yourself from the competition. Are you capable of getting on with things? Are you a fast learner? Are you able to adapt to different roles quickly?

Ask your own questions

Usually, at the end of the interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions of your own. This is where researching the business beforehand will really pay off. Show your interest in the company by asking at least one question. For example, you could ask about opportunities to progress or the day-to-day activities of the role. Remember that the interviewer is also trying to sell the role to you, so you could also ask them what they like about working there so you can get a better feel for the company.

You’ll never feel fully prepared for the questions you’ll be faced with. But, by following the tips in this guide, you’ll know what to do to ace that tough interview. Just remember to stay calm and be yourself so you can let your talent and personality blow them away.

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