In-person job interviews – remember them?! Just as we’re getting our heads around Zoom meetings and interviews, we’re heading towards a return to in-person interviews. So here are our 10 top tips for in-person job interviews to help you show up and get that job!
1. Be on time
Sounds obvious but SO important. Arriving five to 10 minutes early is good, but don’t arrive mega early. There’s a reason you’ve been given a time slot and you’ll just be sitting around.
Make sure you have the interviewer or company’s number saved in your phone so that you can get in touch if you’re delayed.
2. Plan your journey in detail
Work backwards from the time of your interview and give yourself plenty of time to get there. Think about:
- What time you have to leave home?
- Do you have the train/bus times if applicable?
- Is there parking nearby or will you have to park then walk some distance?
- Will you need change or can you pay for parking with an app or your card?
- What’s the weather forecast? Will you need an umbrella?
3. Do your research
You probably did this when you were applying for the job but do have a look at the company’s website and Google them before the interview too. They might have recent news that would make good interview chit-chat and show that you’ve done your homework.
4. Make an effort
When deciding what to wear, do some research into the company culture. An achingly-hip design agency will have a different dress code to a corporate office. If in doubt, go on the smart side. And if the interview is for a manual job, you can still dress smartly – you don’t have to wear overalls just because that’s what you’d be wearing in the role (unless the employer has said that you’ll need to do some practical tasks as part of the interview process that would require specific workwear).
If you have to walk quite a distance as part of your journey, make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear, or change your footwear nearer the location (don’t forget a smart bag or something to put those trainers in!).
5. Do you need to bring anything with you?
Sometimes, you may be asked to bring your passport, National Insurance number, visa information or proof of your qualifications. A smart bag or folder will keep everything in one place.
If you have a portfolio of work relevant to the job, definitely bring it with you: they may not have time to look at it in detail, but it can be handy if you want to show off examples of your work.
It can be a good idea to have a copy of your CV or application form with you – or to look over it again before the interview – in case they ask you to elaborate on specific points.
If you’ve been asked to do a presentation, have back-ups to cover any tech issues. Save it on the cloud and on a USB.
6. Research popular interview questions
Some questions are common across all kinds of interviews, and some, like “Tell us about a time when something you were working on didn’t go according to plan”, could mean talking about situations you’d rather forget! With questions like this, always have a positive outcome to the story: how you found a solution to the problem or what you learned from the experience.
If a run-through would help, practice some answers out loud alone or with a friend. Make notes of any great points you make, or anything that you stumble on.
7. Have examples and details at-the-ready
The interviewer is likely to ask you to go into more depth about things you’ve mentioned on your CV or application – so be prepared to go into detail about them and have facts and figures ready where appropriate.
8. Be aware of what your body’s saying
Your body language is more exposed in person than from behind a screen. Sit up straight, smile, make eye contact (although not so much that it gets creepy!) and if you’re a fiddler, try to keep your hands relaxed on the desk or your lap.
9. Try to keep calm
Ask for a glass of water – or accept if you’re offered one. It can help if your mouth feels dry or if you can use taking a sip to create a natural pause while you’re thinking of what to say to a question.
If your mind is racing and you didn’t quite hear or understand a question, don’t be afraid to ask for them to repeat or rephrase it. If you get really stumped, you can always ask if you can go back to that question later on.
Try to relax – release tension in your shoulders, take time to answer questions and don’t forget to breathe!
10. Do you have any questions?
Always have a question for the interviewers – it can be an opportunity to get extra brownie points, particularly if it’s related to the company’s news or values.
Go and smash that interview! But if you haven’t got any interviews booked in and you’re looking for a new job or change of direction, take a look at our vacancies and see if anything takes your fancy!