The art of the interview: Three tips for candidates

If you’re looking for a change in work next year and have upcoming interviews, make sure you’ve taken the time to brush up on your interview skills with our top three tips for candidates.

Got any good ideas to share with others? Share your tips in the comments!

Tip One: Prepare your answers

While it’s important to be yourself and answer honestly in a job interview, doing some basic preparation beforehand can help you structure your answers well to help you show your best self to the interviewing panel.

Take the time to familiarise yourself with the key characteristics needed for the role. Go through the job description, and consider examples from your own professional experience which demonstrate your aptitude in each of those areas.

Funnily enough, more experienced applicants often have greater trouble picking which example best answers the question – because they’ve got more examples to choose from! So it’s a good idea to think over your work history and choose some examples ahead of time, so you’ve got them ready to go when it’s question time.

Tip Two: Practice your responses

After you’ve chosen some anecdotes, work out which details to include (or leave out) so that your responses make sense to those who weren’t there for the story.

Even though the interview panel are actively working in your field, it’s a good idea to assume they don’t know anything you’re talking about. Make a point to really spell out each step to demonstrate your understanding of key practices and procedures for your sector. No matter how obvious they might seem to you, it’s important to show your thorough knowledge.

Boil the situation down to the basics so you don’t lose yourself – and the interviewing panel – in details that don’t really support the overall story. For every short example you tell, make sure you keep the underlying question in mind so you can link your experience back to what the panel are asking.

A great way to do this is to finish each example with a short sentence summarising what you learned from the experience and how it shaped you as a professional.

If you’re applying for a role through an agency like Be. Recruitment, ask your consultant at the agency to help you prepare. It should be free to do so (it definitely is with us!), so there’s really no reason not to draw on their expertise.

Tip Three: Do what you can to calm your nerves

It’s normal to feel nervous before going into a job interview… but there are plenty of things you can do to help.

Make sure you organise yourself to be ready for your interview with ample time to spare. If it’s in-person, that means planning your travel time to get there early… and then some, just in case of delays. For online interviews, click through the prompts ahead of time to familiarise yourself with the software. You don’t want to click the link at the time of the interview only to then have to spend five minutes setting up an account while the panel are kept waiting!

A good way to work out what to wear is by looking at how other staff from the organisation are dressed. If in doubt, it’s better to overdress than underdress for an interview.

Practice confident body language both during the interview, as well as beforehand to allay your nerves. How we position our body sends strong signals to others… and even your own brain will follow suit, releasing chemicals to help your feelings match the messages your body is sending.

Remember, a job interview is just as much about the panel getting to know you, as it is about you getting to know the position and the company. So feel free to ask any questions you have at the end.

Good luck!

 

Get in touch with Be. Recruitment today to discuss the next step of your career in social care.

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