How to: absolutely smash a job interview

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Whether it’s you fancy a change in career, get your first ever job, or returning to work after having kids there’s always one hoop you have to jump through if you’re going to bag the job of your dreams (or at least the job that will pay for the bag of your dreams): the dreaded interview. Here’s how to smash it like the bad-ass boss babe that you are.

Interview Part One

Over the years I’ve seen some real nervous wrecks: the guy who wanted to bring his mum in with him, the girl who burst into tears before I asked the first question and wanted to go home, and the woman who couldn’t manage more than a whisper when giving her answers.

Interview nerves are perfectly normal and any decent interviewer will do their best to put you at ease. If they don’t make any effort to reassure you, then ask yourself if you really want to work alongside these people. Stuck up gobshites!

I’ve also interviewed people who’ve hummed with B.O., who couldn’t answer a question without swearing, and one who answered his phone to make a drug deal during the interview. Do not be these people. These people don’t get jobs – they just get talked about in blogs for years afterwards.

Instead, here are my tips on how to prepare for your interview:

  • Do your homework on where you’re going. How long will it take to get there? Are their any rail strikes or road works en route? Have you got your bus fare/taxi money/petrol in your car? Do a trial run if necessary.
  • What to wear? It depends on the type of organisation and the role you’re applying for. If it’s office based then something subtle and professional will do the trick. You want them to focus on what you’ve got to say, not be so distracted that they spend the interview trying to second guess how you spend your weekends.
  • Make sure your make up says “daytime” not “concert square on a bank holiday” and don’t overdo it with perfume. It may be your favourite, but it might knock them sick. Unless it’s Chanel. If they don’t like Chanel then their money’s no good to you, queen.
  • Aim to get there about 5-10 minutes before the appointment. Give yourself time to have a wee, make sure you’ve got no twigs in your hair or bird shit on your jacket (yes, I’ve come across those two nature lovers in my time too) and compose yourself before you go into the interview room.
  • Make sure you know the name of the person who is interviewing you. You’ll need to ask for them at reception and it also helps to build up a rapport with them when you meet them for the first time.
  • Greet them with a firm (not hard) handshake. If you’re a Sweaty Betty then make sure you wipe your palms first. Don’t do it in front of them, you don’t want them to remember you as weird as well as soggy.
  • Smile but try not to giggle like a schoolgirl. Don’t wink. Don’t pout. This is real life not Instagram, girl.
  • Do some basic research into what the organisation does. You can find most of this information on their website but don’t be tempted to try and impress them by reciting too many facts and figures. The chances are they don’t even know all that boring crap themselves, so wind your neck in Hermione.

If you’ve made it as far as the interview room, you’re doing good kid. Now you just need to figure out what to do once you’re in that hot seat…

Interview Part Two

You’ve done a dazzling cover letter and completed a fab application form. You even managed to put your first name and surname in the correct fields. They’ve invited you to interview and you’ve got to the right place on time without the remains of your kale smoothie in your teeth. So glad you finally got that Nutribullet for your birthday. It’ll help you look fab when you get this job and you can spend it all on shoes. You can feel yourself morphing into Carrie Bradshaw just thinking about it…

But how are you going to convince them that it’s you they should choose, and not anyone else? You need to sell yourself but not overdo it, not let nerves get the better of you, and try and act like a responsible human being at least until you get your first payslip and are skipping out of Cricket with bags on your arms.

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Follow my Do’s and Dont’s and take some of the angst out of the Cringefest that is the job interview:

  • DO Smile – Sounds obvious but sometimes people forget to smile. Nobody wants to hire someone who looks like they’ve got a permanent cob on. If you’re worried you’ll look like a grinning weirdo then just stick to smiling when you’re introduced to the panel and then again when they say the interview’s finished. But make them good uns. Smiles, not pouts – this is your career we’re talking about here, not your Snapchat story.
  • DO Sit up straight. No, not so straight that you look like you’ve got a poker up your arse but you don’t want to slouch all over the show. Try and at least look like you’ve had more than three hours’ kip and craving 20 chicken nuggets and a Berocca.
  • DO Make eye contact. Somewhere in between “I want to skin you alive and wear your flesh as a deep plunge jumpsuit” and looking out the window for an hour should do the trick.
  • DO Prepare. Can you give examples of how boss you are with Microsoft Excel? Can you remember your sales figures from your last job? Be prepared to tell them about a time you dealt with a difficult customer and what the outcome was. Make sure anything you say in the interview matches the information you gave in your application, you don’t want to look like a liar.
  • DON’T Fidget. If you’re sitting at a table then pop your hands on there, close but not touching. If there’s no table then put your hands in your lap, don’t let them dangle by your sides. Don’t fiddle with your pen or your clothes or do that flicky thing with your acrylics.
  • DON’T Sniff loads, chew gum, or make any distracting noises. I can’t help you if you fart. If you fart you’re on your own I’m afraid.
  • DON’T Slag off your former employer. It doesn’t matter if your last job was licking cobwebs off shelves in the Sports Direct warehouse. Not a word. Nothing takes the shine off a strong candidate like letting your inner Crank light shine, so button it.

Ultimately you need to find that balance of being yourself but not too much of yourself. You know that thing we do with lads we really fancy, posh mates’ mums, and friends of friends who we don’t actually like? Yeah, that. That’s how you do an interview.

Guest post by Oh Bella – find more about her below.

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