How to Ace an Interview

How to Ace an Interview

If you want to know how to succeed in an interview, look no further. We have everything you need to know about how to ace an interview right here. 

Having found a perfect job role and secured an interview, you know things are on the up, a wide smile spreads across your face and you start bouncing around in your seat bubbling with excitement.

Just then, in that moment, mid-way through your solo celebration jig, reality arrives and along with it, realisation. You actually have to ace an interview to get the job! Your stomach drops, your heart starts to race, your inner voice has already started talking you out of this crazy master plan, and wow is it suddenly hot in here?

I can certainly identify with this, believe me, we have all been there. Whether it's a job as a kitchen porter, a personal assistant or a HGV driver, the interview is going to happen.

Fast forward in time and it’s the week of your interview. Your family and friends have all tried to impart their words of encouragement. Yes, you can do this. No, they are not going to hate you. Yes, you should definitely go with the blue, it brings out your eyes. But you still have a ton of questions and who actually knows the answers anyway?

Preparing people for interviews is kind of our thing, well it is one of our things, and so with this in mind we have got our heads together to give you some of the most common pre-interview questions and our answers.

Q: What do I wear to an interview?

You only get one chance to make a first impression so make sure it’s a good one. Clean pressed clothes may sound like a no brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people put more thought into the items of clothing than the presentation of them. 

You do not need to go out and buy a Gucci suit to get a job, not even close. Even an expensive suit can look a mess if it is not clean or pressed so that has to be the priority over the selection itself.  Ideally you will be able to select something that falls into the smart or smart casual category. In many cases you will be wearing a uniform for your role so the important part is to show that you know how to care for a uniform and look presentable when wearing it. 

Q: Should I wear makeup to an interview?

If you usually wear makeup then sure why not but keep it to a minimum. Avoid dramatic eye liner, tone down the lippy and select your colours from a neutral palette. I met a really great candidate once who was wearing the most makeup I had ever seen. She even mentioned that she could not leave the house without it done. I hate to admit it, but I could not help but wonder throughout the interview just how long her makeup took to apply every day and how it would reflect on her timekeeping. 

Q: What hairstyle is best for an interview?

No, this is not just the ladies, we are talking gender neutral here so guys and girls both of you listen up. You do not need to spend hours in a salon being cut and blow dried to perfection, keep it simple. Hair should be clean, brushed, and tied back if it's long. Fringes should be styled away from the face, you don't want to hide your eyes or spend your interview doing an awkward head flick to shift it.

Q: People keep saying I should just be myself…. What does that even mean?

There is a fine line between being yourself and acting as though you are talking to one of your Homies over a pint down the Mucky Duck on a Friday night. We say, aim for the version of you who would speak to Auntie Mabel over Sunday lunch.  This means no cussing. The interview room is not the place to display your prowess for the urban dictionary. Keep it PG and PC. Avoid overtly friendly greetings & nicknames, calling someone mate, darling, or love, is not ideal. I conducted an interview once where the interviewee greeted me with “Alright mate” and then throughout the interview started every sentence with “Yeah Man”. This is all I remember from that interview, so he doesn't stick in my memory for the right reasons.

Q: Should I shake hands when I meet the interviewer?

Yes, a hand shake is a great icebreaker. You don't have to wait for the shake, if a hand is not extended, step in and offer yours first. It shows confidence and a willingness to lead. Firm and confident will do the trick, no squeezing. This is not the time for you to show off your gains from last night’s gym session.

Q: How do I know what to say in an interview?

This one really comes down to knowing your audience.  Do your research. Know who the Company or organisation is and what they stand for. Think about why they are a good fit for you. This will help when they ask, why you want to work there.  Also think about why you are a good fit for them. Do you have the skills they are looking for? Do you fit the key character points they have specified in the job description? Make reference to the advert, show you have done your homework and you have really thought things through. Check out our post They Poo Too, about a young girl going for her first interview being given this ‘good fit’ advice too. 

Lastly, maintain eye contact and don’t forget to smile, Disclaimer: use this last tip with caution, when overdone it can become super creepy and no one likes to have The Shining re-enacted in an interview.