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Interview tips from the experts

What’s the best piece of interview advice you’ve ever received?

When you have an interview coming up, it seems everyone you ask has their own sure-fire tips to impress.

‘Do keep your feet still’. ‘Don’t tap your pen’. ‘Talk to the receptionist – she’s sure to feed it back’.

But, the problem is, how can you tell if that’s what recruiters really want?

Luckily for you, we’ve been trying to find out by asking more than 300 UK employers about their biggest interview turn-offs and what it takes to impress them.

Here’s what we found out:

Be prepared

The key to keeping relaxed at the interview stage is to be prepared for every eventuality. And whilst we’ve covered the minutiae of how to prepare for an interview, there are a few key things you can do to make sure all that preparation translates into success.

With this in mind, nine out of ten recruiters stated that a candidate should come with pre-prepared questions for an interview.

Do – Whilst you can’t predict exactly how the interview will go, you can get a clear idea of what you want to learn when it comes to question time. Look at some examples of questions to help inspire you.

Don’t – Try and come up with them on the spur of the moment.

Interview questions for employers: What you should be asking »

Arrive on time

After preparation, punctuality should never be underestimated. 42% of recruiters highlighted arriving late as their number one interview irritation.

Although it can’t always be helped, candidates arriving late can find themselves on the back foot before the interview’s even begun. For many it’s those candidates who nonchalantly arrive late with no apology who find themselves moving up the list of rejections.

Do – Try and plan your route before the big day. If possible make the journey and find the building to minimise the surprise factor. And if you are going to be late for any reason, always call ahead and apologise.

Don’t – Rely on everything to run smoothly. All it takes is one delayed train on the morning of your interview, and you might end up making the wrong impression before you even arrive.

Pay attention to body language

When it comes to how you come across to others, you may be making mistakes without even realising it. Poor body language can make you look unenthusiastic, disinterested and, ultimately, help you stand out for all the wrong reasons.

In fact, 16% of all recruiters surveyed told us they had conducted interviews with candidates where negative body language had been a problem.

And it’s not just your body language that can make you look unprofessional. One in five said a candidate arriving chewing gum could be enough to ruin their interview chances, so make sure you’ve disposed of yours before you reach your destination.

Do – Be positive, sit up straight and give plenty of eye-contact when answering questions.

Don’t – Slouch. There’s a difference between being comfortable and looking too relaxed.

Body language: Interview dos and don’ts »

Keep it firm

Finally, the importance of a good handshake should never be overlooked. It may seem like an old-fashioned idea but, for many recruiters, the right handshake can send out a positive message about an interviewee.

And if you’re wondering, 80% of recruiters we interviewed told us they like their handshakes firm.

Do – Keep it firm, and try and mimic the handshake you receive.

Don’t – Go to extremes. Avoid crushed fingers or wet fish.


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