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Job interview tips 2021: Your complete guide to success

April 8, 2021
Careers Advice from CV-Library

If you’ve got an upcoming job interview - congratulations!  

We understand that job interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially if you aren’t comfortable with ‘selling’ yourself. You may even be questioning if you should go to the interview or not. But believe it or not, being skilled in interviews is something you can learn.  

Take a look at our comprehensive guide that will ensure you become a master of job interviews – virtual or not! – in 2021.

Firstly, stop and acknowledge how far you’ve come already, you’ve clearly targeted your CV for the role, submitted your application, secured the interest of the employer, and now you’ve got the opportunity to impress at the next level.  

How to make a good first impression

In the first few seconds of meeting you, an interviewer will make a judgement, so it’s important to make sure it’s a positive first impression.

A crucial part of this is dressing for success, so before the interview, you should prepare a professional looking outfit and make sure you’re well groomed.

When you first meet with the interviewer, be sure to smile confidently and introduce yourself. Also, avoid being late as this not only makes a bad impression, but you also run the risk of turning up looking flustered.

How to research the employer before your interview

Pre-interview research is so important. If you’ve done your job interview preparation properly, you should be able to demonstrate your knowledge during the interview and impress your prospective employer.

Start by Googling the employer and checking out its website, social media profiles and other literature available online. You want to try and develop a solid picture of the company’s goals and what it stands for. Not only is this to prove to the employer that you know your stuff and are serious about joining the company, but also to help you devise any questions you might want to ask.

Selling your skills and abilities

Though this point may sound obvious, selling yourself is something that many find an uncomfortable task. Remember, the interview is your chance to demonstrate why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Recruiters see a job vacancy as a problem, a gap that needs to be filled, so you need to market yourself as the solution to their problem.

You should know your CV and the job description inside out. Use these documents to guide you through the interview, and pick examples of your experience or education that demonstrate why you’d be successful in the role.

Be sure to tailor each pitch to the job you’re applying for.  Pick the examples that fit best with not only the role but also the company and its values.

Using the STAR method to answer interview questions

Once you’ve got to know your CV and the role you’re interviewing for, you must prepare for common interview questions.

It’s all very well claiming that you’re ‘a good leader’ or ‘a team player’, but that’s not the right way to answer an interview question in 2020.

Each time you reference one of your skills you should support it with an example to prove to the interviewer that your skills are genuine. A popular technique for illustrating your skills is the STAR method:

Situation: Give some context to the story you’re about to tell, outline where you were and why you were there.

Task: Describe what you were doing and if you faced any challenges whilst doing it.

Action: Then explain the actions you took to complete the task and how you tackled any challenges you faced.

Results: Finally, reveal the outcome, this should demonstrate your skills, what you achieved and also anything you learnt from the situation.

Keep this method in mind and come up with a few go-to examples you can use in the interview. If you’ve done your research, you should be able to tailor these examples more specifically to the role you’re applying for.

Improving your body language

Your body language will say a lot about you. Make sure you’re aware of how you’re presenting yourself and know how to make your body language work to your benefit.

Using your hands a lot when talking can make your stories more animated and aid communication, but be careful not to go overboard with your gestures. Also, avoid fidgeting and fiddling with things, like your pen or jewellery. While this might happen if you’re nervous, the interviewer may find your jitters distracting, so be mindful of your behaviour.

You want to look confident and professional, so avoid slouching in your chair, and try to smile and maintain eye contact with your interviewer too. If you’re taking part in a video call, try to set up your camera beforehand to make it seem as if you’re looking at your interviewer- this will give the impression of maintaining eye contact.

Dealing with nerves

If you’ve done all the correct job interview preparation and you’re feeling clued-up and confident, hopefully, you shouldn’t feel too nervous. This being said, interviews (especially if it’s for your dream job) can be a bit nerve-wracking. Therefore, learning how to control your nerves so they don’t get the better of you is an important step.

You should aim to come across as calm and confident, so be aware of your breathing throughout. If you begin to feel stressed, take a few subtle deep breaths.

Listen carefully to the interviewer so you don’t miss their questions, and focus on the answers you’ve prepared. If you build up a rapport with your interviewer, this can also help you to relax and feel more at ease around them.

Keep a calm head and try to rationalise your fears. Remember, you wouldn’t have been asked in for an interview if the company wasn’t interested in you and your CV. Control the pace of the conversation to give yourself time to answer clearly and calmly. Even though you may be nervous, you should avoid rushing through the interview.

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