"Taxi!" (What you don't want to be thinking throughout the interview)
Updated: May 4
Some of us will have been there – mid interview, rising hot/cold sweat, stomach in knots, dry mouth, clammy hands and brain freeze…you can’t remember the question that was asked of you because you were too busy recalling your answer to the previous question, thinking it was wrong or rubbish; or you simply go blank.
I had it once at my “job of a lifetime” interview at the British Consulate in San Francisco – I had wanted to relocate and had miraculously got myself on the shortlist and had flown in especially. The flight was delayed, so I was late to the interview. I was 22 at the time and excited by the free drinks on the Virgin Flight; I’d like to blame my disastrous interview on my nerves and jetlag but honestly I'm not so sure. "Taxi!" was what I wanted to shout the whole way through. (I didn’t. I wasn’t that drunk.) A real sliding doors moment. That was 25 years ago; ironic that I am now writing an “interview tips” article.
At Rockpool we recognise anyone can apply to an employer directly for a job and appreciate that if you are putting your faith in us to represent you, then we will do all we can to increase your chances of getting the offer that you want.
Nerves can affect us all, but we think the key to showing yourself in your best light is all in the preparation and if you feel prepared it can lessen the nerves and increase your confidence and performance at interview.
There is no excuse not to know a great deal about the business that you are looking to work for – information is everywhere – follow them on social media, google, business news and obviously their website. Review sites are helpful too. Make sure you know enough about them as a minimum to answer the questions “What do you know about us?”, “Why do you want to work for us”, “Who are our competitors?” Clearly you will want to know more than this depending on the type of role you’re interviewing for.
If you are interviewing through an agency they should be able to give you a full job spec, a thorough brief on what the job involves, why it’s open, what the client is looking for and the interview format etc. so, make sure you feel as briefed as possible and if you need more information then don’t be afraid to ask. If you are interviewing directly with the employer they should be able to give you a job spec in advance of the meeting if there is not one on their website and you can always ask the format of the interview if it is not obvious from the invitation and the names of everyone who will be present.
Spend time anticipating the questions that you might be asked. Imagine you were the employer hiring for this role; what would you need this person to do and how would you make them demonstrate that they have the experience / attitude needed? Write a list of what those questions might look like and think about how you might answer them. Get a friend or family member to help you with this – they might think of some good questions that will help you prepare.
Spend time thinking about standard interview questions:
· What are your strengths and weaknesses?
· What is your biggest achievement to date?
· What would your boss say about you?
· Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?
Just practice your answers – they may not come up but if you have practised then you will feel and sound more confident and confidence is key.
Take a smart Notepad in – have any questions that you have for the interviewer written down. Perhaps have any other preparation you have done inside the notepad too – this will show the employer that you have done your research and that you are serious about this opportunity. People want to work with people that want the job. Conscientious, enthusiastic attitudes are always valued highly. Make sure you get a chance to ask some of these questions.
We have written a full piece on tips to help you perform at an interview from the basics of what to wear through to practice runs, logistics, the water tip, the hand shake and much more – to get your free copy please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will pop you across the document.