How to interview like a pro

Joshua Dixon is the Founder and CEO of The YourCode Group, which specialises in recruitment and talent acquisition for businesses operating across the globe. In the latest instalment of his ‘Work Skills’ blog series, Joshua looks at the art of ‘selling yourself’ in an interview situation and what you should and shouldn’t do to help you get the job.

So you’ve been through the headache of CV writing, not knowing where to start or how much to sell yourself, but knowing that it’s crucial you get it right. A week later, the hiring manager calls you - they want to interview you!

In my years of experience in the recruitment industry, the number one tip I can give you is, do not wing it. Ever. The more time spent preparing, the more confident you will come across.

Researching and Revising

Most people assume that researching and revising for an interview simply means searching for the company on the internet. Well it does, but not just that.

The truth is, that one of the most important aspects of an interview is to research and revise your own skills and experience. Being able to share additional information relating to the job role or duties will be highly beneficial, especially against your competition. Remembering work or studies that you completed three years ago is highly important – you’re always learning, even now, and back then you will have used skills you might not have used significantly before.

As an employer myself, I can tell within the first 10 minutes whether a candidate has prepared for the interview. The effort that you put in to gathering knowledge on these subjects will demonstrate a legitimate interest.

What research should you think about for an interview?

  • Social Media (Company)
  • Local news (Google Search, click “News”)
  • Company website (Values, About us section, Blog)
  • Your own CV (Remember, it’s important you can answer any question that comes your way from your CV as it’s the only visual an employer will see before an interview)
  • Supporting evidence
  • Questions - always ask at least one question at the end of an interview – this will help you to engage with your interviewer and leave a good lasting impression

The day of the interview

On the day of the interview, make sure that you’ve got a checklist of things to complete to ensure you are prepared and ready. If you have time, go for a walk or to the gym beforehand as this will activate your endorphins and ensure that you’re confident and precise in the interview.

Other areas to think about:

  • Can you take a supporting reference to hand to your interviewers?
  • Have you planned your journey to ensure you arrive early and can calm your nerves beforehand?

During the interview

  • Make sure you smile
  • Ask the interviewer a short icebreaker question when you arrive (eg “how’s your day going?”)
  • Think about your posture
  • Be mindful of the words you use, it’s a professional setting

Looking for a new job is never easy and interviews can be scary, but remember, a job interview is as much about the employer getting to know you and find out if you’re a good fit for the role, as it is an opportunity for you to find out more about the company and whether you would like to work there. So smile, relax and most of all, be prepared!

Joshua Dixon is the Director of three successful business consultancies that operate across the billion dollar Anti-Terrorism, Sales and Technology industries. He also sits on the Board of 5 major technology organisations as a Non-Executive Director. 

Over the past 18 months, Joshua has spoken as a “Top Influencer”, whilst also being awarded "Entrepreneur of the Year", with his company being awarded "Company of the Year" at the business awards last year. 

After being told he would never achieve more than a "HGV Driver" and was kicked out of mainstream school, Joshua is defying odds and his critics by proving that the vocational route is a serious alternative for students. 

He is currently sharing his story to schools, businesses and at conferences UK wide and recently spoke as part of BAE Systems "Top Influencers" stage at the WorldSkills Event at The NEC which attracts over 70,000 people each year.

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