You’ve done your research, made your mum ask you practice questions and put on your best suit. You’re ready for your interview, right? Almost, says job interview veteran and JobPage contributor Sarah Rudston. Here are seven things she says you shouldn’t leave home without…
1. A pen and paper
“Even if you don’t feel the need to write anything down during the interview, it’s a good idea to have a pen and paper to hand, just in case. Don’t feel pressured to use them — your interviewer would much rather you stayed focused than tried to impress them by writing everything down.”
2. The job description
“When it comes to discussing the role in the initial stages of the interview, it might help you to have the job description to hand. Although your interviewers will have expected you to do research before attending the appointment, they won’t be expecting you to memorise every word of the person specification. Having it in front of you will help you form more of a natural dialogue about the role.”
3. Some prompt notes
“It’s OK to take preparatory notes along to an interview as long as you’re not reading directly from the paper when it comes to answering questions. Bullet points or spider diagrams will help you to feel more organised and in control when it comes to answering tough questions — and make sure you don’t forget to mention something crucial. Most likely, you’ll never need them. But just knowing they’re there will give you extra confidence. Just make sure they’re in a little notebook or on a crisp sheet of paper. A crumpled, tatty page won’t give the right impression.”
“No, not for crying if it goes horribly wrong! Whether it’s freezing cold or hayfever season, come prepared. Sniffing or sneezing in a job interview is not the best look. If you’re feeling nervous before the interview, use tissues to dab moist palms to avoid giving a sweaty handshake.”
5. The directions
“The address might sound simple enough on paper, but office complexes and industrial parks aren’t always easy to navigate — and if you take a wrong turn you can easily find yourself lost in a car park or by the fire exit. Allow plenty of time, and print out the directions and instructions before you go. Don’t rely on your phone — your battery could die or reception might be bad.
6. The name of the person you’re meeting
“The first question is not ‘Why do you want this job?’ — it’s ‘Who have you come to meet?’ Keeping the receptionist waiting while you look it up on your phone is not a great start. And it looks even worse if your interviewer is already waiting for you and sees that you’ve forgotten this crucial piece of information.”
7. Emergency phone numbers
“Ideally, you’ll have left plenty of time to get where you need to go, but traffic jams happen and trains get delayed. If the worst happens and you’re going to be late, you’ll need your interviewer’s phone number so you can call ahead and let them know you’ll be late. Don’t leave it too close to the interview start time to make the call. Be apologetic, but try not to sound flustered or panicked. Give them a realistic time when you’ll be there — not an optimistic one. The extra time will give you a moment to gather your thoughts so you can stop stressing about the fact that you’re late — and refocus on the interview itself.”
*WHAT HAVE WE MISSED?
Jobseekers – is there anything else you’d recommend applicants take when meeting an employer? Do you have a lucky charm you keep in your pocket? If you’ve ever had a really good interview, please share your tips. And if you’ve ever had a really bad one, please share your shame!